Review Summary: If there was ever an album deserving of a 0 it would be this.
I am now convinced that Free Jazz is home to both some of the best and worst albums in the history of music. The likes of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, and Albert Ayler represent everything good to come out of the movement but on the other hand it also gave birth to performers like John Cage and Peter Brotzmann that make me want to disregard it in an instant. Even in the most challenging of pieces, like Brotzmann's Machine Gun
, I've usually been able to at least find traces of enjoyable material... until now. Earlier this year I stumbled across the album The Topography of the Lungs
by Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, and Han Bennink. Having spent the last six months trying to just listen to the damn thing has made me come to only one logical conclusion: The Topography of the Lungs
is the worst piece of "music" I have ever heard.
Calling The Topography of the Lungs
"music" is a misnomer and the sounds that are displayed on it are instantly headache inducing. To get a good grasp of just how awful it is, picture a group of toddlers with ADHD getting a hold of some instruments. One of the kids tries his hardest to create "something" on the guitar by aimlessly fretting the strings and picking frenetically. At the same time another child grabs a saxophone and blows into it in seemingly random time with the child playing guitar. And finally the third child bangs away on the drums in what sounds like Animal from the Muppet's having a seizure. If you somehow found a way to make a recording of this calamity you would have The Topography of the Lungs
. For that's all that there really is to the album; noise and more noise. Its beyond bad.
There is not one redeeming quality to The Topography of the Lungs
. The complete lack of anything that would even resemble a melody and the seemingly random instrumentation makes it incredibly hard to listen to. I'm sure there are a few masochists out there that would derive some sort of pleasure out of The Topography of the Lungs
, but unless you have a lot of drugs on hand and an art school education I'd recommend that you stay the hell away from it.