October 30, 2003

Crypt of Mediocrity

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I have to review three or more albums on the average week, writing approximately 2000 words about music. I don’t even like music. I like myself and other people who don’t like music. Compound this with the fact that I got two hours of sleep last night and I really don’t feel like writing anything about music, or even noise, right now. If I hear another note, even the best one, G, I am going to overdose on the Blue Mass I found in this coat I bought to look like that girl from Sleater-Kinney. So I can do any number of two things: 1) review silence; or 2) review Half-Time, Vol. II: The 1964 Ithaca High School “Little Red’ Marching Band, an album that transcends music and sound. Silence has apparently not been released yet in the United States, so I’m going to relentlessly insult horrendous flautist Lil’ Debby Lanning from Fall Creek.

First of all, this is just a terrible package. The cover is essentially just folded cardboard with a fairly nonplussing bright red font. The liner notes are about the 1968 “Little Red Marching Band.” The Ithaca Marching Band has insights into the malleability of dilating time, realizations before which Einstein would cower. Modern man may never know why the version of “Maria” from West Side Story is called “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” The liner notes tell us, “With very few exceptions, the Band devastated audiences wherever it went.” Apparently, this was not an exception.

The production is abysmal. I don’t know what studio recorded this, but someone should’ve closed a window. While Mr. Musgrave’s selections are varied and well-suited for a marching band, sporting such acclaimed gems as tunes from Hello Dolly, the actual execution leaves much to be desired. While “The Sweetest Sounds” gains an admirable drive, it suffers from sophomore Alan Kilby’s tiresome drumming. It’s like he just joined band to hit things