Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Grand Opening and Closing


4.5
superb

Review

by niobium USER (8 Reviews)
June 16th, 2006 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is the aftermath of Idiot Flesh's demise in 1998. Founding members of Idiot Flesh (Nils Frykdahl and Dan Rathbun) started Sleepytime Gorilla Museum less than a year later. In 2001, they released their debut album, "Grand Opening and Closing". According to the official websites description, the album is "a collection of boisterous laments for the failure of the millennial apocalypse." That statement isn't very far from the truth, this is the music I'd want to hear during an apocalyptic post-war world, or during nuclear fallout.

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's music seems random and unorganized at first listen, but they do work within a set of boundaries with a set number of tricks. That's not to say they ever repeat themselves or overstay their welcome, more like they have a distinct sound and that sound will often find its way into whatever style they happen to be playing. Mr. Bungle will often be conjured up as inspiration to Sleepytime's arcane methods, but more appropriate comparisons are The Residents, Swans and King Crimson (Idiot Flesh even covered a Residents song) They even go as far as to perform live with costumes (anonymity), puppet shows, and pseudo-scientific scholarly presentations, which is truly lifted from the Residents live philosophy.

The album's best moments aren't in one fleeting riff, or one memorable line. It happens within the entire song, because Nils composes songs like he would a piece of classical music, giving mood and presentation the utmost importance. In Ambugaton, it builds like a crescendo, but also crashes down only to be built back up again until it ends on a high note. Think of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The only differences are it builds more than once, and it doesn't take 22 minutes for it to happen. Or if slow builders are your bag, the song "Sleepytime (Spirit is a Bone)" would suit you well.

Nils' talent for composing also happens in "Powerless", which is in my opinion, easily the best song on the entire album. And that's really saying a lot, because every song has something different to offer. It's a slow builder, but the nine minute length can afford it. After the first minute or two of jingling, it slowly launches into a cataclysmic hell. The rest of the song, anything goes. When you least expect it, they do the unthinkable. They somehow incorporate a Funkadelic inspired bass line into everything. Just when you can't handle any more, the song winds down and ended just how it began. Quietly.

Other songs are much more linear than "Powerless". For instance, "The Stain" owes a great debt to the song "Providence" by King Crimson. The entire midsection is comprised of Fripp-esque noodling. As for the rest of the song, it's actually a pretty basic riff that reminds me of the chorus of "Bullet in the Head" by Rage Against the Machine. The truly special thing about this song is the duet of Nils and Carla. Their style of harmonizing together is so unconventional, it could be described as anti harmonizing, or harmonizing against harmonizing. Nils will simply recite the lines in a retracted sort of tone, while Carla breathy voice stings the ears. Together, the voices are just as good as any of their instruments can do, but you can still hear the separated voices tower above the music. It is a Sleepytime Gorilla Museum trademark, and you can find it in other songs, primarily in all of "Ablutions".

In conclusion, I would recommend this to enthusiastic avant-garde fans, people who like anything progressive, or just anyone who is sick of the same old crap and need a kick in the face with something fresh. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum will do more for your musical health than a glass of orange juice in the morning. All bad analogies aside, listen to this album.

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is:
* Matthias Bossi - drums, glockenspiel, xylophone, vocals
* Nils Frykdahl - guitars, flutes, vocals
* Carla Kihlstedt - violins, percussion guitar, autoharp, organ, vocals
* Michael Mellender - percussion, assorted melodic instruments,vocals
* Dan Rathbun - bass, log, trombone, lute, vocals



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zappa
June 17th 2006


355 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a good review and album. Nice work.

AlienEater
June 17th 2006


716 Comments


The Residents? The Swans? Sounds like something I would like. Good review.

3rdplanet
June 17th 2006


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think this album is awesome and your review did it justice by also being very good. I agree with your point at the end, that Sleepytime...and this album can do wonders for someone's musical health.

There are two paragraphs in there which are almost identical; it looks like you had two different ways of writing the paragraph and then left both in.

DanD
June 17th 2006


86 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a truly amazing band. It pains me to not see them get the attention that they deserve.

Great album.

Ambugation and 1997 are probably my favorite songs, but every song is great in their own right.

niobium
June 17th 2006


238 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks 3rd Planet, I hadn't noticed I did that. Well now the review is significantly shorter, maybe I'll add another paragraph one of these days. Thanks for all the feedback so far, guys.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2006


2688 Comments


A very well-done review about an excellent album. They're very bizarre, but they're also incredible. The music is indescribable at some points. Terrific job.

JumpTheF**kUp
January 3rd 2007


2710 Comments


I heard Sleep is Wrong and it actually scared me.

niobium
January 5th 2007


238 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When I grow up I'm never gonna sleeeeeeeeeeep.

banada banada banada ba banada banada

JumpTheF**kUp
January 5th 2007


2710 Comments


*cries*

Cravinov13
April 2nd 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I LOVE this CD. It's so progressive and atmospheric, and I love the experiementing.

any14doomsday
May 18th 2007


679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this cd so much... I wish they would come out with some new stuff soon.

Cravinov13
May 18th 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They have a new CD coming out this summer I think.

Tyler
Emeritus
May 18th 2007


7926 Comments


May 29th according to the label's PR.

Cravinov13
May 19th 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shweet

any14doomsday
May 21st 2007


679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hey alright, I cant wait.

canadapantsman
June 1st 2007


236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i saw these guys live and they are insane. i hope to see them soon, and buy all of their releases since some scene chick bitch stole my copy of this album.

thewired
July 19th 2012


48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

too good. too fucking good.
i mean the last album was epic but nothing comes close to this
tonight we're gonna party like it's 1997

deathschool
September 17th 2014


9028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

1997 rocks like 10 billion times as hard as the music that it's making fun of.

Digging: Look What I Did - Zanzibar III: Analog Prison



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