Sun City Girls – Piasa:Devourer Of Men (Abduction) 2007


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This is my first experience with Sun City Girls, the longstanding US avant garde group. Like many bands in this genre, their previous albums are notoriously hard to come by. Those nice people at Abduction have decided to re-release some of  their output from the early 1990’s. I wasn’t sure where to start so I took a punt on this one.

Piasa has a pretty interesting story. In 1994 a young Italian film director wanted to make a film based on the legend of a flying dinosaur that eats Native Americans in the ninteenth century. He decided to ask Sun City Girls to come up with the soundtrack. This was released as a vinyl only record in 1994 and was limited to 1000 copies. They sold out pretty quickly and since then these recordings have been unavailable. The film itself has never been made.

The titles of the songs give an idea of just how cheesy the film would have been; Hatchling (Folklore of the Nest), 17 Arrows, Glowing Red Eyes, A Warning to Massatoga and Lizard Copter are just a couple of examples. Luckily the music itself is pretty impressive. Apparently every track bar two is an improvisation and recorded live to a four track. The tracks themselves are difficult to describe. They are more like avant garde acoustic vignettes than traditional songs.

Piasa covers a lot of ground with its eighteen tracks. Hatchling is like other-wordly baroque church music, The Base of the Mountain of Noise has a real Dead C quality to it, and somehow they have managed to shoe-horn tribal elements  in each. Bongo drums, banjo and what sounds suspiciously like a nose flute turn up on other tracks.

I have no idea whether this is a good Sun City Girls record. I have nothing to compare it to. For me it works as a pretty decent piece of avant garde composition. My hope is that more of their back catalogue is re-released because quite frankly if this is improvised then this is a group that is so good that it seems unfair that I can’t explore further.

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