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Penisgeek Chrestomathy: The Essential Cubicle Nosepicker

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  1. The Essential Cubicle Nosepicker (or Any Other Day This Year)
  2. Drawer of Knives
  3. Everything Seems Clear (or I will Sew Every Seed That Falls)
  4. The Dreams of Buried Children
  5. She Made A Simile (To Explain to The Drunks It Was Time To Leave)
  6. Demystified, Disenchanted, But Still Stirring Delusional (I'm Bigger Than Atmospheric Pressure, Larger Than Weather Could Be)
  7. Mom's Favorite Bum (or The Price of Money)
  8. America's Lear
  9. Failure for Dummies
  10. America's Lear (Reprise)
  11. Black Cloud Over Charlestown
  12. The Grain of Deity in Woman
  13. Beautiful Like Me

v1. 2/7/00

Penisgeek Reviews

At this time (2/7/00) no copies of Penisgeek have been sent to the press for review. The first was submitted by Austrian novelist Gerhard Moser, and now another from Jurriaan Hage's "Axciom of Choice" progressive music web site (based in the Netherlands).

Summary of history:
The project continues. Every single time, a new line up with some new and some old faces. Next time, I hope, the titles will be shorter.

The album:
The album opens with some playful chamber orchestra music. Bouncy percussive piano playing accompanies this duet. The lyrics are about dissatisfaction with the life of work that the man leads. At the end, the vocals are more intertwined. Drawer Of Knives continues the piano dominated music. I like the male vocal part here, sung as a chorus with a good vocal melody, contrasting with the piping vocals of the birds. Everything Seems Clear is sung as if acted, in fact, much of the vocal parts here sound more like this is a musical than an album. The fact there is a screenplay involved makes this impression stronger. Quite playful this track. The Dreams Of Buried Children is a sad monologue (not surprising with this kind of title) with the dramatic vocals of David Grant. The clear and subtle vocals of Michelle Graf of She Made A Simile contrast well with these vocals. The chorus is sung by Grant in a drunk/pompous way with hasty piano on the background.
Demystified, disenchanted, but still stirringly delusional (with the great subtitle I'm bigger than atmospheric pressure, larger than weather could be), is a an angelically sung piece. A bit more free form than the others. The music continues in similar style: lots of piano, musical styled vocal melodies, some violin and such and alternation between playful, bouncy pieces, avant-garde pieces and more slow melodic pieces. Striking features yet to be encountered are the more complex sound of Failure For Dummies with grating vocals, the anthemic quality of the desperate Black Cloud Over Charlestown.

Again, not very proggy, in the strict sense, but I think the music on this album is worthwhile. The story is interesting and life-like, the singers are excellent and much of the vocal melodic material is also very good. The lack of "rock" is compensated for by the intensity of the vocal performances.

Jurriaan Hage, "Axciom of choice"

In Jeff's own words Penisgeek Chrestomathy: The Essential Cubicle Nosepicker, TASM Lab's latest effort to conquer the world, is a simple collection of songs about dreading work, leaving love,and running to the sea. That's right to the point.

The album starts off beautifully with such a "simple" song, introducing the two main characters Ruby and Dick sung by Michelle Graf and David Grant who both do a great job in interpreting the sometimes desperate, sometimes hilarious lyrics. Talking about words: one finds many great lines on this album always packed into seductive melodies you want to sing to instantly. Listen to "the boys" sing: Who has heard a discouraging word, that has not put the men to work? Who has heard a discouraging word, that could not drive the women to go out shopping tomorrow, we'll lose some weight and buy a dress. Jeff certainly knows how to make words last.

The songs, however, work on their own, too, without the context of the story of Ruby and Dick. There are some great ones on this one, like the cheerful and pompous Drawer of Knives, the bitter The Dreams of Buried Children ("...and I can take it, another bullet, another punch to my jaw and shine."), the simply beautiful America's Lear, or the desperate Failure For Dummies. But the Nosepicker's highlight (and one of 2000's early highlights, too, I'd like to add) definitely is She Made A Simile which combines all the great aspects of Jeff's music in one song: there are the great vocal performances of Michelle Graf and David Grant; the haunting melodies; the clever variations of the chorus; the pace and mood shifts; and and and. Thing & Nothing was a great record, the Nosepicker is a lot better. It's much more focused, both lyrically and musically, the songs are stipped to all they need, not a superfluous note, not a superfluous word. Jeff likens this record to Tori Amos and Elvis Costello, well, whatever it sounds like, it sounds great to me. Go get your own nosepicker.

- Gerhard Moser

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