Man... or Astro-man? did something weird when they left Estrus Records. Well, they've been doing something weird ever since they allegedly crash landed on Earth and decided to go undercover as a surf rock band to study the planet. Ever since they joined up with Touch and Go, however, they've done something most bands don't typically do when they move to a larger label: they grew. They EVOLVED.

If you heard A Spectrum of Infinite Scale playing in a record store and were only marginally familiar with the band, you wouldn't know you were hearing a Man... or Astro-man? record. Upon hearing that, indeed, it is in fact a Man... or Astro-man? record, you'd ask a lot of questions: Where are all the samples from old sci-fi movies? Aren't they mainly a surf rock band? Why would anyone in their right mind choose to label a song with only a dot matrix printer playing as "the smash hit single"?

Truth is, the band has changed and stayed the same at once. Long ago, and I can't find the page anymore, there was a posting about the truth of the group: not only were they aliens, but they existed in multiple timeframes. They currently exist in the future, and are destined to bring about change in the way humans conceive rock and roll. The problem with the music of the future, however, is that it would literally destroy the brains of listeners today, so the change has to be gradual, subtle. This is what the band has been doing since they left Estrus.

So let's get down to it. This is Man... Or Astro-Man?'s tenth or eleventh album, depending on which EPs and LPs you want to count as actual albums. Let's just call it their release for the year 2000. It was recorded by Steve Albini, which should tell you that it's going to be a quality record almost no matter what. If you are a fan of earlier Man... Or Astro-Man?, and only early Man... Or Astro-Man?, you probably won't dig this record. It's not surf-groove-licious. It's almost, in fact, artsy. The music has changed.

The band, however, has not. The charm of the songs is still there. Now the jokes are made with chords and tesla coils and old fashioned computer equipment instead of with theremins and b-movie samples. The songs still rock, they're all just different. The leap has been made. Let's hope that the band doesn't get too anxious to change music, though, and accidentally destroy the world with their next album.

If you like numbers, here you go: 4 out of 5. It rocks. It's a dizzying ride through the already schizophrenic and turblent sounds of surf rock and pop culture obsession turned inside-out and upside-down. It's quirky but not kitschy. And definitely try and see the band live. The performance can only enhance the album.

track list:

  1. Pathway to the Infinite
  2. Song of the Two-Mile Linear Particle Accelerator Stanford University, Stanford California
  3. Preparation Clont
  4. Curious Constructs Of Stem-like Devices Which Now Prepare Themselves To Be Thought Of As Fingers
  5. Um Espectro Sem Escala
  6. Many Pieces of Large Fuzzy Mammals Gathered Together at a Rave and Schmoozing With a Brick
  7. (trapezoid)
  8. Very Subtle Elevators
  9. Within One Universe There Are Millions
  10. Spectrograph Reading of the Varying Phantom Frequencies of Chronic, Incurable Tinnitus
  11. A Simple Text File (yes, the dot matrix song)
  12. Obligatory Part 2 Song in which there is No Presently Existing Part 1, nor the Plans to Make One
  13. Multi-Variational Stimuli of Sub-Turgid Foci Covering Cross Evaluative Techniques for Cognitive Analysis of Hypersignificant Graph Peaks Following Those Intersubjective Modules Having Biodegreadable Seepage


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