Weird maxima

Selections by Kat Cardiff

1. Divine “You Think You’re A Man”

Divine is weird. You've got to admit this over-the-top drag queen wins the award for the trashiest and cheapest thing. Period. In John Waters' Pink Flamingos she stuffs a big flank of meat up her dress. She also sings. The first Divine song I heard was “You Think You’re A Man.” It’s not Divine’s weirdest song but the fact that this man/woman did it is pretty phenomenal. He/she also tried to market “The Name Game” as a disco pop song. That's right, “banana fana fo Divine, me my mo mivine...” was released in 1980 but never charted nearly as well as it did in 1965 when Shirley Ellis’s version went to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2. Geinō Yamashirogumi “Doll’s Polyphony” (Akira)

[MP3]

I love the music in Akira. First and foremost, it works perfectly for this elaborately animated Japanese anime story, which takes place in the decaying new Tokyo. Combined with the eerie visuals, it really does make your skin crawl. I think the most memorable scene for me is when Tetsuo is in the hospital room and all these toys are coming to life. The song that plays is “Doll’s Polyphony.”

3. GX Jupitter-Larsen “Big Time Crash Bang 2008”

[Link]

GX Jupitter-Larsen is prolific and one of the weirdest, most renowned artists I’ve heard. Along with hundreds of collaborations he’s the founding member of The Haters, which is a touring, ever-changing band of mischief-makers, performance artists and noisicians. He’s the inventor of the Totimorphous, his own alphabet, and the Xylowave and his art includes not showing up for shows as the performance among many other experiments. His ideas and inventions are incomparable and hard to wrap your mind around. This equals awesome. I’m a particular fan of his obsession with car crashes and slowed down noise. Two years ago he released “Big Time Crash Bang 2008” which has car crash sounds mangled up to the extreme.

4. Aphex Twin “Come To Daddy” (video by Chris Cunningham)

This video blew my mind. Aphex Twin is pretty strange to start with. Put Chris Cunningham’s creative energy into the mix and you’ve got to come out with something that looks and sounds like hell. Richard D. James (a.k.a. Aphex Twin) wrote this weird, weird song that basically repeats the words “Come to Daddy.” The video has a bunch of midgets running around with James’ head on them. It’s beautiful for the cinematography but probably the weirdest music vid I’ve ever seen.

5. Adrian “Me And My Rhythmbox” (Liquid Sky)

Liquid Sky doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s about drugged up New Wave models in New York. There’s aliens for some reason, bad acting and lots of great fashion. Adrian sings this song, “Me And My Rhythmbox” and, really, I don’t know why this scene is in the movie, but I could say that about a lot of the scenes. I’m jaw-dropped and can’t find words to describe the movie so therefore, weird.

6. The Books “Motherless Bastard” (Thought For Food)

[MP3]

The Books really impress me with their work. Using all found footage and VHS tapes from thrift stores, then adding cello, banjo and guitar, they sculpt these strange sound collages. You never really know what belongs to them and what words were said in a trashed family videos they’ve picked up along the road. That’s what makes “Motherless Bastard” so strange. This dad is telling his rather distressed daughter not to talk to him and not to call him dad. It’s short but it’s really eerie.

7. Matmos “California Rhinoplasty” (A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure)

[MP3]

Matmos’ concept album about surgery and the human body definitely resides in a realm out of the ordinary. On A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure, they use samples from medical procedures interlaced with his electronic sounds. IDM could be considered a pretty weird genre as it is. The song doesn’t follow a consistent beat, instead it bounces around in your head constantly trying to surprise you. Combining sounds of the body with IDM just has to be quirky, and it is. “California Rhinoplasty” contains samples from a plastic surgery performed in California. It seems appropriate that I like this song as I’m inclined towards bodily abnormalities such as the pregnant man, the body part bakery and cyclops cats.

8. Mr. Bungle "Goodbye Sober Day" (California)

[MP3]

Mr. Bungle were never afraid to cross countless genres including metal, funk, avant-garde jazz, techno and Middle Eastern music as well as countless others. The resulting songs are weird experiments for so-called “popular music” lovers. Although the album Disco Volante is their weirdest work, the song “Goodbye Sober Day” is completely schizophrenic and freaky. It encapsulates the diversity of Mr. Bungle’s styles, particularly Mike Patton’s (Faith No More, Peeping Tom, a million other projects) influences, and closes off the band’s third and final album in a rather weird way.

9. Chu Ishikawa “Megatron” (Tetsuo The Iron Man)

[MP3]

Okay, so I'm really into Japanese movies (I could probably include Electric Dragon 80000V on this list too), but will keep it to a minimum of two of my favourite and weirdest. While Tetsuo is visually very stimulating, engaging and outright disturbing I also really enjoy the creepy and haunting soundtrack. It’s metallic and sparse. It’s perfect for Halloween and being home alone during a thunderstorm. I’ll put Tetsuo on just to hear Chu Ishikawa's awesome soundtrack.

10. Sun Ra - Magic Sun

Dude. Sun Ra was nuts. He had his own religion, he visited Saturn where he was exalted as a god, and he never stayed on one page... or even in one universe. Yet, he’s widely respected and revered. With over 100 full length albums it’s hard to choose just one track that is the ‘weirdest’ Sun Ra. Magic Sun was a film that came out in 1966 covering his New York period in the early ’60s. This period started seeing far more free jazz and ‘outsider’ recordings. Sun Ra refused to have clean sounds and promoted the people moving around during recording, making the listener aware of the recording process instead of isolated from it. Here’s a brief clip from the movie, which is artistically pleasing and sonically assaulting. Weird maxima.

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