Eckhard Gerdes + Shelf Life,
“Scuff Mud” (Public Eyesore, PublicEyesore.com)
Have you ever wondered what it would sound like to translate the brain waves of a long-term coma patient into sound waves? Ever wonder what happens when a schizophrenic dictates his diary over the soundtrack of a sci-fi movie from 1973? A listen to “Scuff Mud,” a Journal of Experimental Fiction release from author Eckhard Gerdes and experimental noise outfit Shelf Life, just might answer those burning questions while leaving you with a whole lot more. If you are looking to rock out, then keep looking because “SM” is far from the typical new-release indie rock fare you may be accustomed to reading about in these pages. If you are looking for a challenging yet engaging vacation from your everyday musical routine, then read on.
Basically, what we have here is the poetry of Gerdes spoken over a soundscape created by Shelf Life. Subject matter ranges from Middle Eastern affairs to sex and relationships to the “out-of-placeness” of elephants in the Sonoran Desert, and the mood ranges from the very serious to the rather silly to the overtly risqué: “I’ll spend my fuel rod on you / Can you feel its bulge against you?” intones Gerdes early on in the fantastical journey that is “SM.”
The closest comparison I can come up with to something in fairly wide distribution would be the extended soliloquies of Robert E. Lee and Mary Todd Lincoln in Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s section of the multi-composer early ‘80s epic “the CIVIL warS”, although that avant-garde masterpiece at times seems downright pedestrian compared to this. Overall, “SM” actually makes for a very entertaining listen and it is definitely worth tracking down a copy. The disc is available from CDBaby.com and you can visit JEF online at ExperimentalFiction.com to learn more.
I must say I have been loving your album, It's a unique and refreshing take on the spoken word genre at a time when many people are taking the easy way out with cut & paste stylistic formulas and repetitive rhyming structures, you have released a truly innovative and experimental classic reminiscent but in no way copying such classics as Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. and you can quote me on that.
-- Shane Hollands, DirtyWordz, 88.3 FM, Auckland, NewZealand