issue 21 :: March 2012

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Review: Alvarius B.

Blood Operatives of the Barium Sunset CD (Abduction)

aka Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls, world traveller, archivist, and culture jammer extraordinaire. Thankfully this insanely entertaining album has now been reissued on CD for our listening pleasure. I'll let Alan speak for himself: “In a world stuffed with more injustice and brutality than is known to the common man, there are a handful of savvy characters whose stories are not meant to be told in ways that would expose them. Operating beneath the surface in parallel communities shrouded from public view... loyal, honorable, yet betrayed by fate and scarred with open wounds... these hidden souls are the seekers of truth and the masters of vengeance. They did not lie down and accept their fate as most do. Nor do they have the bullshit morals or easily manipulated behavioral patterns which anchor mortals to resignation. They act with courage and conviction. You will never find them. But they can find YOU.”
Alan must've been feeling pretty inspired by his unsung heroes when he recorded these tracks because there is a fiery passion here that does not normally exist in his solo work, good as the others are. The song-writing and production are both above average too, more on the level of a SSG album. The lyrics are downright cynical and moody, like a sailor cursing while telling you a story in poetic meter. It's hard not to get cheer when Alan sings “This boy had... effortless perceptive qualities. Looked so sad... when the little fuck went way down on his knees!” on the opening track “Evil Next to Blue." Among the guests, there is the incomparable Eyvind Kang on viola and Tim Young on electric guitar for several high points. In fact it is Young's understated near-metal guitar solo on the track “Dracula Frizzi” that provides the most astonishing moment on the album. This particular track is a cover of the instrumental theme from Andy Warhol's “Dracula” with Alan adding his own vampire lyrics. The whole thing runs for less than 40 minutes so there really isn't a moment wasted, the musical counterpart to Don Delillo's Mao II.
Review by Jacob Green, a musician and film lover living in Austin, Texas.
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