Diverse Uniform: Reviews
Listening to Diverse Uniform, the eighth Insert Piz Here release since 1997, I am struck by three thoughts:
- Whether he'll admit it or not, Ruben Vinal, Piz mastermind and outsider artist extraordinaire, has achieved at least a semblamce of musical competency — no small leap for a man who once set out to create the worst music ever.
- Despite this fact, 99 percent of humanity will judge Diverse Uniform no more listenable than any other Piz recording
- Even I can no longer sit through 53 tracks of Ruben's insane babbling
Yes, it's true, after five years and several hundred Piz "songs," I have at last had my fill. Somebody give me a medal. But please, don't let my sated self dissuade you from dipping your hooves into the Beefheartian theater of the absurd that is Insert Piz Here. Everyone should hear this music at least once, if only to be reminded of how deeply strange and awful music can get. G'wan, it's good for ya!
79 minutes. 53 songs. And all of them lame. But in a strangely compelling way.
Well, that's a little harsh, but it must be admitted that things haven't really changed since the last time a disc from these nuts turned up to be reviewed . The silly pop factor is still there, only this time it's even further away from normalcy, if that's possible. Insert Piz Here are bedroom-recording at its finest. Complete control over their sound is attained only at the cost of lyrical insensibility. The liner notes' inclusion of every word on the disc isn't much help, as it's still impossible to figure out what the hell they're on about. Still, it's a useful -- if geeky, and evocative of fart-jokery -- trip.
Insert Piz Here are the sort of band that make you wonder what the hell they do for the rest of the day. No matter how drugfucked Ween get, they still manage to produce some fairly good tunes in a mainstream-with-a-twist sort of way, whereas these guys sound like they stayed behind to finish off the dope and drink the bongwater. There's a slightly-detuned aspect to these songs; they sound like the aural equivalent of milk that you realise has gone off after you've had a mouthful of it. What sounds like Goofy singing a tune about "hippos eatin' grass" gives way to Mike Patton-esque vocal rants about a multitude of topics, none of which bear any relation to reality unless you're hopped up on crank. To call it puzzling is an understatement.
"Don't ask me, I'm not right in the head" suggests the narrator of "Convenient Obstacles". You'd be wise to take heed. Just remember: when you're making a mixtape and find you have a 48-second gap before the end, that's when Diverse Uniform comes in handy. Frighten the hell out of whoever you're trying to impress by whacking on a shard of insane sonic inability on their tape. They'll either love you, or run screaming -- which is exactly what the band want, surely? Compared to this, The Mountain Goats sound like Julio Iglesias.
diverse uniform opens with "protruding cavity," what could only precede a great tv show on another planet... or a piz album, whichever.
"growing shorter" is languid, lounge-y, and cool, featuring the return of the slide whistle to the piz's repertoire.
the confessional "convenient obstacles" is a bumpy journey into a confused man's psyche.
"white shadow" is soothing and mellow, a lullaby in reverse perhaps.
it's like the reprise of the reprises (à la "little sally," and co.) with "famous danish castles," etc.
schoolhouse weird, "gigantically svelte" has circus-y organ and moseys like a hippo.
"highly advanced stupidity": break it on down!
"stale freshness" may have been funded by the republican party, and if this theory can be established as a fact, this song must be their greatest and most successful commercial for war.
"flagrant affection" is wall-to-wall body parts, an obvious piz favorite, notable for its phobia-induced bridge and unpredictable bunny rap ending.
the forced and faux-mechanical "vomitous meal" is self-effacing; its glowing moment is in swedish tones.
a childlike fantasyland emerges when "narrow expense" bequeaths inanimate objects with names and, at times, super-powers.
"all of our songs are filler" seems like an ode to willy wonka's sense of interior decoration...
"knowing his random" reveals how devastating a nightmare can be, ending like sleep.
"deepest surface" sounds like monster crickets in instrumentation and is peppered enjoyably with random slogans, clichés, and nonclichés.
"natural artifice"... why couldn't popper and montesquieu have been a little more like this? on the surface, it appears too dense to digest, but once you let the current pull you, you're fine...
"dehydrated water" seems so serious in the beginning that one doesn't quite expect the final outcome.
"dr. hipnerd" is a funny little lollipop commercial.
"utopian hell" reminds one of primus, had primus fallen into a well and then been rescued nearly two weeks later by a piece of candy.
"comfortable itch" gives a nod to old-school horror...
"ominous particle" is true piz anomaly, appearing to actually be 100% serious through-and-through (lyrically speaking), though the cornet that appears midway through the track seems to be a little mocking of the vocals... frighteningly, the instruments in this song seem to multiply tenfold, weave in and out, and threaten the listener. somehow it all ends with mad laughter though...!
one could picture the piz cheerleader (male) doing this one, the song "efficient waste."
like a mad flashing light, "striped continuum" is mesmerizing...
"pristine dump" brings forth a persona not unlike the monkey who's laughing at you, the gorilla by which one sneaks...
the piz are well-known for their love of breakfast cereal, and now "hardly soft, yet largely small" is a strange song indeed in that it's really not a safe in-the-kitchen song...
"questionable answer" is really "why" part II or part XXXXXXVVVXVI. these questions all have answers, surely, but in a way, it is sad that the act of wondering can plague one so much that one tosses and turns in an insomniac state about these unknowns for all time...
"the wester bunny" is a real crowd-pleaser live, and the song translates well in its original form as well. i wouldn't mind the faery giving little bunny fufu a few more chances... (and why would the fae folk believe in hell anyway...?? hmmm...)
seemingly driven as though by divine providence, "reasonably insane" brings to mind (oddly enough) various progresses that mankind has made: the invention of modern medicine, the wheel, pants, etc.
"disassembled reconstruction" is a creepy cobbler of spooky sauce, freaky fruit, crumbly cymbal bits, and the oddest, most unplaceable accents...
"one god, many feces" is all about baked goods and violence... it's a little bluesy, but without the part of blues that i happen to hate, so this is a very lucky song for me!
"instantaneous eternity" is a story of surreal proportions, with hiccupping organ and steady determined rhythms.
if you can picture the universe as a grocery store, then "problematic solution" may be the master grocery list for the insane shoppers.
"heterogeneous singularity" is a listy song, a cubist creation.
a weaving of dueting voices, "accidental purpose" is perhaps a little confusing to the untrained ear, but even those who are confused, cannot help but feel that those in control are doing the right thing... a reassuring song.
"concave bumps" had an odd emily dickinson-esque lyric in it: "as you die, you can hear all the birds a-sing—"
a fable from the animal kingdom, "completely partial" is a perfect song, and thus, its story seems all the more authentic and believable.
"clearly blurred"... falling on the floor is becoming a theme...
echoing the pounding of hyper little paws, "mad sanity" is a playful song about a puppy...
a nearly unintelligible voice, gurgling in its own intelligence, growls and/or drowns in "synonymous opposites." ironically, only when the message becomes less intelligent (flowers and rainbows), does the voice emerge from the murk.
a long-awaited love song for an under-appreciated vegetable, "we should, but we're going to anyway: cabbage," strikes a chord (or five) with sensitive gardeners and vegetarians everywhere.
"vaguely specific"... cough drop anyone?
"roughly gentle," the biggest funk crowd-rouser ever... this monkey is going to get a big head about all the attention and compliments.
a voice sample from an old reel-to-reel tape blends seamlessly (read: nightmarishly well) with threatening sounds in "pertinent nonsense"... then things get happy-go-lucky... this poor guy is always thwarted in his plans, but the music complements his misfortune so well, with perfectly-timed hesitations and explosions... convincingly, a match made in heaven, or as far north as cortland, new york, as it were.
the piz have really turned onto doing love ballads on this album... it's an "exactly imperfect" ending to this most recent release from that tucson superband, insert piz here.