Hello there, this is Herve from France.
I've received my copy of NONKERTOMPF SE yesterday and I'd like to share my fresh feelings about it. Before you read any further I'd like to make 2 warnings/explanations:
1- This message is very long. I apologize in advance for my approximate english, and for the size of this mail; I just can't say things shortly :).
2- Since I've only listened to NKSE once, I guess my feelings will change considerably in the next few days. What I suggest is that I'll send another mail later, with my impressions after many listenings. What follows is just a "first impression" thing.
(I've noted that, most of the time, when you listen to an album for the first time, especially if it's a record you were waiting for, you expect a lot from it. You've already made your own idea about the record, even if you don't own it yet. What happens during the first listening is that you don't really appreciate the music because you keep on referring to what you expected, instead of letting the music impose its "newness". In other words, you're listening to what the album IS NOT. It's only by the second listening that you listen to what the album IS. The "surprise" factor (often linked with a kind of disappointment) has passed. So remember folks, this is only a first impression review.)
Let's go. The first thing I've enjoyed from NK is that when I opened the envelope, the CD was facing me upside down. So what I saw first was the backcover with the 35 song titles on it. I put my left hand against my head and went: "Wow! 35 songs!" Then the next thing I do is flip the CD, and what do I see? Mike's head looking at me with HIS hand against HIS head! I just loved the coincidence. After exploring the insides of the CD, (by the way my copy is #286), and after telling to myself that on the smiling photograph Mike looks like a cross between Buddha and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (no offense intended), I dug myself into the music. As I always do with a new record, I listened to it in one shot, with headphones on. I decided not to look at the chapters' titles, except when I would feel an urge to do so because the music would sound especially cool on the fly. I did that three times: first during 'Show yourself', then for 'What I have done', and finally for 'Hiding in front of you' on CD 2. (Remember this is a first-listening experience.) The overall sentiment I had upon the album as a whole is that the inner illustration with the bass-drummer toy walking decribes NK perfectly: the album sounds like Mike having fun playing with himself, making fun of his usual musical attitudes and aptitudes, just like a young child would do with a new musical toy, banging his noise all over the place. I could feel how simply FREE Mike must have felt during the conception of this extravaganza. (Oh there's "Paperback writer" on the radio while I'm writing this too long message !) Anyway, I enjoyed the trip, just waiting to pass the first listening step so that I could discover the richness and secrets hidden within this great and charming record.
PS: I also loved the second CD, finding Nonkertalk particularly interesting (I'm a musician/composer myself), and... ...the 'Click' video is a MUST ! (Especially the scene where Mike plays with the bells in front of the microphone). If only the whole album could be available in this form... but no, I'm dreaming here...
Thank you for reading me and keep up the good work.
Herve Marchetti a.k.a. Eggzoomin' Dude.
I love it already and I haven't even heard the fucker yet. Mike, please don't ever be sad. And, I always want to be happy with you, Mike. Don't ever let those bad, bad things bring you down. 'Cause those can be very happy too. Do you know that?
Kicking a Cricket,
OH Boy. Not only did the Draw-Tite Trailer hitch arrive today UPS from PA for the pickup, but that fluffy envelope from Lou's with the 35 tunes inside was there upon my return home as well. Why are some days so productive? I retrieved a big box with dry Ice and graphite cloth and polycyanate resin from Fed EX this morning, then went out for lunch and purchased a yard of red Veltex fabric for the new pedal board at Evans upolstry, bought a copy of Modern Drummer at Guitar Center so I could read the feature on Steve Alexander, then stopped by my favorite watch shop and managed a super deal on a watch with functions like altitude, temperature, barometric pressure, and it even tells time(for Mountain Bike adventures), returned to work and painted a helmet with two colors of holographic paint (gold and chartreuse on blue), threw a sheet of urethane with hologram embossed mylar film into the oven to see what happens. I made a huge mess, but I probably won't get fired. I came home and ate, took a 2.27 mile treck on the TREK, then pre-fit the new hitch to the Ranger, and now I am listening to Nonkertompf. I noticed that the dancing Mike heads on the mailing list input page actually are in sync to several numbers on the CD. I like that a lot.
Hey, who wouldn't?
It's now over and I will play disc two untill Art Bell comes on the air. Tomorrow I shall attempt to go see Toss Panos play drums at the Baked potato. Mike, this record is very usefull. I want to hear some of it live, so I will be there for some of that on the 18th.
I like your drumming. You could hit the snare a little harder (for more tone), then compensate for the extra volume in the mix. But what the hell do I know. I want you to give my daughter some piano coaching some time.
Here is a picture of me, or not!! You dun good pal.
Got it today.
Keneally does the definitive post-rock album?
Ever wonder what a collaboration between Zappa and the Residents would sound like?
HIS BEST YET!!! MAYBE, POSITIVELY PERHAPS DAMMIT!!!
PSYCHEDELIC as all FUCK.
MELLOW and INTENSE.
I may have wet myself.
I'm not surprised at how good it is though. I would only have been surprised if it had sucked.
Whoever compared it to CPIII was off base a bit. Closer in tone and texture to Grand Wazoo or Sleep Dirt or certainly/maybe Lumpy Gravy. But still in a world unto itself...
God, it is massively great.
Maybe my fave recording of Mike's sonic-wise. Earthy chamber pop sound. Totally sublime.
A few hilariously crappy drum sounds that haven't been heard since someones shitty demo tape circa '81, mixed amidst a very audiophile-friendly sonic stew.
Did I mention how psychedelic it is?
Guitar parts have an impressionistic, abstract quality that is years beyond your typical guitar heroics.
Yeah! He made an album for the 'heads'!!!
Now I'm convinced (like I wasn't already) of MK's brilliance.
This is the record I've been waiting for Mike to make.
I must go listen again.
Utterly blown away...
Here I am at work listening to Nonkertompf,great music, love it. People at work keep asking me,what kind of music is that.It's adventurous music with no boundaries,unlike that shit they play on commercial radio.Keep playing those wonderful notes,and I will continue to consume those notes with pleasure.How about one more show at the Casbah before you head out with Steve Vai on his world tour,please.Talk with you later.
The time was about 8:00am UK time on Tuesday the 24th August, I was lying in bed feeling a bit worse for wear after a few Guinness the previous night, when all of a sudden I heard this gentle thud on my mat by my front door. I got out of bed and went down stairs to find this jiffy bag which I hoped contained Nonkertompf. Fortunately it did and I must thank you for such an efficient service because I didn't expect to recieve it so quickly. As usual Mike your Music is brilliant and the double CD package is great, number 244/500 I own.
Listen Mike, I know it's expensive, but get over here for a few shows will you!!! Last time I saw you was on the last Zappa tour, April 20th 1988 at the NEC Birmingham. I have always followed members of Frank's groups,and you are the best, but I must say that Adrian Belew comes close second. Keep up the good work Mike, I never get bored listening to your music.
Regards from a far away fan,
I just got Nonkertompf today and I'm floored.This is exactly the kind of music I've been waiting for. I'm a big fan of FZ's synclavier music and I was begining to think I would never get to hear anything like it again. Although this is sort of like Frank, in other ways it's not. It's a kinder, gentler, listener friendly piece. I'm blown away by this CD. I can't imagine how difficult it was to record. I'm almost speechless, which is just what you want to hear when you asked for our thoughts right? This music comes from someplace very deep. I think I need to take an hour + bath and listen to it in there. It makes me think of "anotherworld composed of water." Well you asked.
Wow. Nonkertompf just happened to me. I don't know what to say. Well, I could start off by pointing out that when Mike mentioned "Egg Zooming" on the Nonkertalk CD, that was the first time I realized it is a pun ("Egg Zooming" = "exhuming", get it?).
The music. The music is like... so amazing, so impossible to take in on first listening. Yet so friendly and so open. It's like a letting down of all barriers, a completely free expression, like an intimate conversation that you could only have with your closest friends. A complete removal of ego. In terms of the sheer amount of musical ideas here, it's like the uber-Keneally album. I mean, this is an immense statement. But it is also the most open and vulnerable of all Keneally's music to date. I hate to make a comparison using drugs here, but I couldn't help but be reminded of an LSD trip, and let me explain in exactly what way I mean that. I don't mean that Nonkertompf made me hallucinate and see pretty colors, or even that it makes me wanna wear tie-dyed shirts and stop bathing or something (which is not to say that those are necessarily bad things, just that it's not what I'm talking about). What I mean is, it's that complete and utter stripping away of all barriers, right to the center of everything, right to the heart and soul of what one is about, an event that could be terrifying because you don't know what you'll find there. On LSD, you are never sure what will happen from one moment to the next, but you know that the experience will be life-altering and unforgettable. It is not something which should be abused. It's that way with this music too. Only it's something we all can share in, and you don't even have to short-circuit your synapses or alter your bio-chemical makeup to experience it.
I am savoring this moment right now. It's good to get these feelings down, because I know that someday I will look back at this writing and try really hard to remember what it was like not to have heard Nonkertompf hundreds of times and know it inside and out. So this is a very special time, when this music, which I know I will be talking about and thinking about and listening to for many years hence, is still completely fresh and new and different.
I was so ecstatic when I arrived at home today to find that puffy envelope in between the screen door and the door to the house. I jump out of the car so quick I forgot the car was still moving. My wife had to yell at me and remind me I wouldn't be able to listen to it if I was in the hospital. I'm glad I took her advice because once I safely made it indoors, I carefully place disk one (I have the limited edition) in my CD player and began my journey. Mike, I have to say out of all the musicians I listen to and look up to If I could play like any of them it would be you. You definitely rank up the there with the great composers of our time (i.e., Frank Zappa). The high of the year was getting to Guest Host for you in Denver The second time you were there. (it was that dead head bar that had it's roof blown off thanks to you.
The CD is Bombastic :) It's like a stream of conscience that you hope never stops flowing. Thank you for all the inspiration and beauty of your music.
Geeze Louise, Mikey!
It's like eating a chocolate-covered cherry only to discover that it's not really a chocolate-covered cherry, but a chocolate-covered grasshopper! But then you discover that you really like the chocolate-covered grasshopper and wonder how you got along so far without this wonderful experience.
"Nonkertompf" must be Keneallese for "Velveteen Mind Fuck". I'll probably feel like a stooge for submitting this once I've grown to know and love NKSE, but, like I said, initial reaction. MK continues to make music that inspires and moves and mystifies.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a moment...
Ever since I began using Nonkertomph my car runs better and my children are more well-behaved. I will recommend it to everybody I meet.
I received my 5 copies of Nonkertompf regular edition on Monday, and still all I can really say is, "Wow."
Nonkertompf may topple Civilization: Phaze III (by Frank Zappa) as my favorite album of all time. Man, I don't even really know *what* to say! My name's in the Thank You's/Lyrics as well.
You know, it takes a lot to shut me up, and this album has done it!
To me, Nonkertompf is one piece with 35 "chapters" or movements, and should be listened to in one shot. There is so much that I love in this album, I wish I could have you over and play it for you just to point all my favorite parts!
OK, I'm going to be really lame now and list the chapters I like best: "What are you doing," "Click" (for some reason, this tune didn't strike me as being weird for an MK tune...I really loved it, and it did make me think about a forest before I even heard the interview! I still haven't seen the video, I'm pretty psyched to see that), "Naked horse," "Blue jean baby" (I love how you can hear MK breathing and clicking the keys in this one! It's REALLY creepy, but it's definitely part of the music. It's like he's right there in the room with you, watching over you, making sure all the notes are OK.), "The knife and the drum" (Before I heard this, I felt that MK's best recorded guitar solo was actually "Sophia's Dream (vs. Reality)" from "Oppy Music, Vol. I: Purple, Crayon.," but now I think now that the solo from this composition is at least just as good as, and maybe even better than, "Sophia's Dream (vs. Reality)."), "Juzz," "Chew," "Don't hurt our paprika!," "Clumpy clumpy o" (How can I not love it? There's an O in the title!), "The Boing-Ah steroid," "The blumpy hop" (bopbopbop.), "Draconian blump" (my favorite part of this song is the very beginning), "Rake Bannuh's men," "I love it here," "Drumsticks," "Oprah talks to teens" (DARK?! You call that DARK?! It makes me bopbopbop.! I think it's one of the happiest songs on
the CD! Radio Girl is just having a grand ol' time with this one!), "Piezo clambake" (It starts to remind me of "Don't Fear the Reaper" [SEE! I know classic rock!] and then it gets all whacked out again...I think that "ya ya ya" section is TOO GOOD and should be put as the chorus to a song on the next BFD album because I *love* it), "O, stamp collector," "Lights out, eyes open," and, of course, "What I have done." This is not to say that the other chapters are inferior, these are the just the parts that wow me the most.
To me, this album is very Ives-ian in a way. I've said before that I feel the greatest love song ever written was "The Housatonic at Stockbridge" by Charles Ives from "Three Places in New England," and that the reason why it was such a great love song was because it was instrumental. The dissonances, the collage of sound...what better way to express an emotion as complex as taking a walk with your new bride? The confused thoughts, the sense of amazement at "Who is that person over there, and why does she like me so much that she'd be willing to spend the rest of her life with me?"
How could mere "I love you so much, baby baby," ever express as complex an emotion as THAT. Shut up and play your piano for goodness sakes!
To me, Nonkertompf sparks a lot of memories. The one that stands out the most is the whole paprika festival thing. That marchy-type motif reminds me of Full Sail. The trumpet in "Don't hurt our paprika!" reminds me of the time I was standing outside at Full Sail playing my trumpet. Until hearing that, I didn't even realize just how much I was LOVING playing the trumpet at that particular moment in time!
I'm not making any claims here, I'm just saying that that's what it reminds me of. The Boing-Ah steroid reminds me of Marc Ziegenhagen.
Anyway, I really, really *love* this album. My absolute favorite part is the 10 seconds of rest at the end. =P. Have a nonkertompf day!
Mike Keneally: He'll make you laugh, he'll make you cry, he'll rip your fucking head off.
Christopher D. Opperman
BFD Brass Boy
P.S. That vibe you get after listening to Nonkertompf...it's called "Post-nonkertompf syndrome."
I finished listening to my copy (285/500) about two hours ago and I think I'm ready to share my first expression now...
PHEW, this stuff is so thick on information you could choke a camel with it. I'm convinced the more I listen to this CD the more I start enjoying it although I do like it already very, VERY much! With this much aural info happening for 75 minutes it's almost physically draining to go through it, especially when you don't really have a clue of what to expect (I never took the Nonkertour...) and that's why I'm seriously considering about commenting on Nonkertompf after repeated listenings.
I'm surprised at myself for comparing the record more to The Mistakes CD than any of Mike's former solo stuff. I guess it's the improvisatory nature of Nonkertompf that sets it apart from the rest of the older stuff.
Finally I think it's a great statement supporting the freedom of music. I wish people would make records like this more. I'm flabbergasted! :) It's a masterpiece!
Jaan Wessman, Finland
Well, I like it a lot. That's all I can say. I'm still a little shell shocked although I prepared myself for the massive listening ritual by listening to the second disc first.
I will tell ya this...
My fish were scared of it. They hid under a rock and didn't come out until the record had ended. The snail on the other hand, loved it. He kept climbing to the top of the tank and letting go...so he'd fall to the bottom...and he'd start all over again. He never does that....I think he was dancing...unless they were failed suicide attempts and I'm just reading him
wrong. It's a little unclear.
It is a great album. Yay Mikey!!!
Remember how my snail was dropping to the bottom of the tank and then climbing and dropping ...etc..
Well, he/she/it gave birth... there is now a baby snail crawling around...so apparently 'shemp the snail' really liked it!!! Birthing music.
I've decided that to honor the entire event the baby snail must be named appropriately.so I named him Juzz. :)
isn't that cute?
First off: Nonkertompf is wonderful. That's my in-depth review. It'll have to do for now, because I'm supposed to be departing for California in 16 hours and I haven't even begun to pack. It's a shame, because we're finally having a nice, overcast, rainy day here in Massachusetts, and it would be perfect if I only had the time to do nothing but listen. California overcast just doesn't compare.
There is one burning question I must ask, however, so here it is:
Am I crazy to think that "Rake Bannuh's men" sounds an awful lot like "Genesis" on the Resident's latest album, Wormwood? Is it possible that they heard "Rake Bannuh's men" on Court TV and decided to "appropriate" it in time-honored Residents fashion, without expecting the original to be released on an album? Does this mean that Rake Bannuh is YHWH- or that Mike is one of the Eye Guys?
Okay, other quick random commens.
If this album is "Nonkertompf," what would be an example of an extremely kertompf album?
Mike looks like Danny Elfman in the insert behind the tray. It's creeping me out.
re: the special disc:
"making love to Jewel" is a terrific title, but I can't see that happening. You'd have to put up with a lot of candlelight and poetry and moonshine beforehand, and thenI get the feeling that she'd break. Especially set to this music, which sounds like an electric shanty. Maybe it should be "making love to whatsername O'Riordan from the Cranberries."
As long as I'm being tasteless here, can I request that a song called "making love to Britney Spears" appear on the next album? You could just pummel a glob of polystyrene with a mallet to the backing of a Casio rythym box.
"clumpy clumpy banjo" sounds like Japanese redneck music. I love it. I think you should make a video for it featuring a Noh adaptation of Deliverance. Then segue it into "making love to Britney Spears" so you can get it on MTV. (Marketing, marketing, that's where I belong. Among other places.)
And, lastly, all wise-ass comments aside:
I managed to catch part of a Charlie Rose interview with Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman was unusually emotional. He said that, until his college years, he'd assumed he was going to be a pianist, though it didn't come naturally to him and left him frustrated. It was only by the merest chance- he desperately needed a gut course- that he stumbled into acting, and though he wasn't immediately good at it, he discovered that he could work at it for hours on end and not notice the time go by.
He said that was what Elaine May was getting at in Ishtar; it's better to love what you do and do it with total exuberance, even if you are second-rate or embarrass yourself.
A little later he read a poem by Robert Pinsky, our poet laureate, whom Hoffman had recently met. The poem is called "ABC," and I don't believe it's been published yet:
Any body can die, evidently. Few
Go happily, irradiating joy,
Knowledge, love. Many
Need oblivion, painkillers,
Sweet time unafflicted,
I don't mean to be flashing my sensitivity around- and besides, as a political cartoonist, sensitivity is a professional liability- but after that, I really needed to go lie down and listen carefully to "what I have done." Which I did. I could have done it better justice at twilight, totally at rest, the condition Mike describes so well and evokes at the end of the album... but I know there will be many evenings like that to come.
Proud owner of 53/500,
hey mike... your world's most demanding fan here (flagg13).
well, waiting by the mailbox paid off! it just got here. i am the proud owner of limited edition #379. i just popped in the extra-special cd#2. i decided to hear what you have to say prior to listening to the new epic. i'm LOVING the background tracks. i'll write again after listening to the whole work (at least 3x's).
someday (when my balls grow large enough) i may ask you for the same shot you asked frank for. if i can't figure out the keyboard/piano (by ear) i may have to beg for the sheet music. (demanding; me).
thanks again for "the promise." next time you play new york.. i'll thank you in person.
enjoy the inevitable accolades,
When I heard that MK was recording an album of almost completely improvised instrumentals, I laughed with such angst and glee. I immediately placed my order and patiently waited for Nonkertompf to arrive.
I got my package in the mail two days ago.
Popped the Nonkertompf CD in my discman on the way to work yesterday (I use a commuter train every day). 73 amazing minutes later, I realized I had missed my stop and was already 10 minutes late for work. So I hit play again and backtracked - this CD will take multiple listenings to even begin to grasp what is going on in the world of Keneally.
Yes it's dark, yes it's instrumental, but what we have here is 100% undistilled MK. Beautiful, melodic, jarring music pours forth from my speakers. I played it at work in between those pesky meetings. On my way home, Nonkertalk kept me going as I discovered the reasons behind this wonderful statement. I'm glad your childhood dream came true, MK. Let's hope you have some more.
First of all, let me say that I think you are an amazing creator of extraordinary music. I might even call you a genius, but I wouldn't want to freak you out, so....
But seriously, your new album is just as beautifully wacko and fun and amazing as any of your other works. It will take a few a listening's to totally dig in more and fully appreciate (as I have been doing with "A Passion Play" by Tull, which has been flooring me, by the way), but the first couple of listenings are creating weird, wonderful, odd, and stinky colorful images inside my feeble mind.
I now know how truly warped you are (I mean that in a loving way), because I have now traveled inside of your mind with this album.
When I saw you in NYC a few years ago, I met you and shook your hand and told you that I think you should write and score music for an orchestra, and I hope I live to see that day!!!!
But anyway, congratulations on another extraordinary work and get your ass and your band to NYC soon for some live shows!!!!
NK SE is the sound of Hogan's Heroes meeting Led Zeppelin and the uneasy truce which ensues.
The work as a whole is fantastic. It is as if Mike takes off his skin and twists it partially inside out so that it takes a Moebius loupe to find your way out of the textures of the improvocompost transitions. I am typing this number nine hours after first listening to NK and there is something still grabbing me and drawing me back and whispering that I'll never need to come up for air again.
I'd like to think, Mike, you've got to stop playing that COMEDY MUSIC,and do more of this, but I won't.
From Bob's Berzerko Lounge on Planet Zappafrank,
Ok . . you asked for it. After many listenings over the past days, here's my rundown. Be warned now: This is long. Also note that it is subject to change as I listen more.
First off, I need to say, "Wow." This album *is* dancing about architecture!
Let me start with a few things I *don't* like about Nonkertompf. We'll get those out of the way right away then move on.
Number one: Too many damn cuts with names I can't remember!!! I keep hearing things I just love and then have to find the CD case, figure out the track number, and read the tiny little writing to see what the hell it is I just heard! Try doing this on an L.A. freeway at night! Damn near killed myself when Drumsticks came on. Mike, if you're gonna put so many songs on an album (God help us for the next 40-song MK opus), at least make the song names BIG on the jacket, OK? OK.
Number Two: So many themes, so little CD space. There are some things that I *really* would have like to have had you expand on. There are several cuts with wonderful, amazing themes and ideas that left me hanging because I wanted to hear so much more!
Ok then, that said, track-by-track; let's get started:
1) What are you doing.
Mike, on Nonkertalk you mentioned that all of your albums have two endings. I submit that they have two beginnings as well. "What are you doing" is a beautiful prelude into one of the nicest songs on the album, Click, which to me really starts things off (again). Think about it. On hat, Quimby is sort of a first beginning to the album, and then I Can't Stop starts it again. On Dust Speck, Sooth is a pretty little thing but Speck really starts again with 'Cause of Breakfast. So there's my theory.
Really wonderful. When you asked me at the Dregs show if Nonkertompf was what I expected I said "Yes and No", but never got to explain. Click is exactly what I expected from an MK solo effort. I love this song. The pretty little melodies wouldn't have had half the impact without the "dangerous" interludes. Really wonderful.
3) I just got here.
To me this flows naturally out of the nice Jazzy groove of Click. The whole album has definate song groups and 'got here' abuts nicely with Click.
4) Naked Horse.
I'll be honest, I didn't like this one at first. It sounded like random pounding. But after hearing Oprah Talks to Teens, and then hearing this again, I realized that "Horse" represented one of the major percussive themes on Nonkertompf. This one definately required several approaches to "get".
5) Blue Jean Baby
Another one that I needed to hear a few times. Pretty dense, and obviously very personal.
6) Knife and Drum
Oh yeah baby. The Steve Howe-ish guitar solo just rocked my fucking planet. The Hammond-y keyboard solo is scrumptious. A top-contender for one of my fav's.
This is probably one of the most plaintive and beautiful pieces on the album. If I had a complaint it's that it doesn't get developed more (well I guess it does get reprised several times).
Ya couldn't make this track 9, could ya? This track reminds me of the Carnival of the Animals or something. I can just picture Jumbo the Elephant walking down the path, Ozzie the Ostrich preening her plumage, Charlie the Cheetah stretching after an afternoon nap .. and the acoustic gutair conjures images of the African savanna. The end feels like man intruding on this beautiful world. That's what I see anyway.
9) Sunset over the Paprika Festival
God help us if you ever get in front of an industrial strength orchestra. Sets up Juzz so very nicely.
Hmm .. this is the stuff that bad dreams are made of. It's as non-organic as Nine isn't.
Look out Beller. Can't wait for him to have at this one live! I just love the mechanical drone and synth wash stuff. When you asked me at the Dregs show if Nonkertompf was what I expected I said "Yes and No." This is what I *didn't* expect.
12) Show yourself
Very Moody, very personal, very nice. It makes me think of summers at the Baked Potato. Oh, wait .. that was *this* summer! Love the screaming echo fadeout.
13) Don't Hurt our paprika.
The paprika theme reprise. Again, we need to hook you up with the Philharmonic. And such a wonderful setup for .....
14) Clumpy Clumpy o
Whee!! I bout pissed my own pants when I first heard this. I've noticed that you can't help bobbing your head back and forth while this plays. Is this some secret plot? The piano sound brings back the smell of pizza of all things, it's very Shakey's piano roller sounding, if you know what I mean.
15) Oh Angel
You talk about rainy, grey days on Nonkertalk. I can't recall if it was in reference to this song, I could listen to a whole side of this gorgeous stuff. Serve up some more some time, OK? Again my only complaint is that I'd like to hear this develop more.
16) The Boing-Ah Steriod
This track pissed me off at first because it jolted me out of that nice rain mood from the previous cut. Keneally strangeness at it's peak. God I wish I could go into a studio and do this kind of shit. You must have had real big fun.
17) On a glandular level
This has got to be the pituitary or some other similarly diminutive gland.
18) The blumpy hop
Funny, I didn't get the Bunny Hop feel out of it until you mentioned it on Nonkertalk. Now that's exactly what I hear .. and sadly, I can't remember what feel I got out of it before then. Isn't music weird that way?
19) The draconian blump
Freeform jazz at it's blumpiest. When I was a kid, my dad dragged me to jazz clubs to hear stuff that was like this. For that reason, this song hits me in a very primal way. I like it a lot, for that reason I'm sure. Gets me in that Wes Montgomery, Wayne Johnson-y place.
20) Rake Bannuh's men.
My son heard this and said it sounds like a video game (he loves those fantasy role-playing games). Very action'y sounding. Seriously could have been used on some PC game, where you are running from the huge nuclear device you just inadvertently set off by placing the mana orb in the wrong slot.
Segues nicely? This track is *not* nice.
22) I love it here.
Doh. I do love it when you get "scat"-o-logical on us. A cross between Zappa and Aerosmith. Beautiful, soulful ending.
This is just one absolutely gorgeous piece of music. Can't wait to hear it live. Old Genesis all the way. Another rainy day song. Too bad it never fucking rains here in SoCal. My son's favorite so far. Mine too, I think.
24) Oprah Talks to Teens
When I first heard this, I thought "I know this .. who is he quoting?" Then I realized that I'd heard it before .. on Track 4. This could be walk-on music for a really twisted late-night talk show.
After a few listenings I realized how nicely this fits with the previous track. Both have that strange jazzy feel. For some reason this evokes thoughts of Chick Corea and RTF.
26) Rake's men hurt their back
The paprika theme hits home again. I like how this wends its way through the album, announcing a new section of songs.
27) Piezo clambake
I ain't never heard a clam bake, but I'd guess that this comes close. Kind of a jumpy little melody, with nice Bungle overtones (even though I'm sure you did this before California came out).
More fantasy video-game music. Which dramatically hooks to:
29) Hang Tough
Very dramatic and suspenseful.
30) An understanding of myself as other
Which is the self here, and which is the other? Underneath that pleasant exterior, you've got some demons somewhere, Mike. I think you exercised a few on this little number.
31) Self 'n' Other
Great groovin' drives batman! This one snuck up on me, actually. I'd been lulled into a strange little trance by this point in the album and I almost missed how great this song is. I had to put the player back and hear it again. Another tune destined to be great live! And .. another song which nearly got me killed trying to read the song title on the jacket whilst weaving in and out of traffic on the 5 freeway!
32) O, stamp collector
I used to collect stamps, and every once in a while I pull them out and enjoy them. I must take offense at you poking fun at Philatelists. Unless this is a tribute .. in which case, Thanks.
33) Show more of yourself
As if you hadn't shown enough already. Moody scream guitar at its finest, fused with combo jazz.. One of the few tunes you really let things develop. And such a delicate little ending. Seemlessly flows into.....
34) Lights out, eyes open
AKA, Ending 1. God this is pretty. I love the sweet sounds with the forboding of the military drum. Such a great juxtaposition.
35) What have I done
AKA, Ending 2. When I have my A/C on in my condo, the drone of the cooler unit sorta blends in with the spaces in the piece and I hear this piece keep going long after the track has ended. Amazing, strange .. and quite wonderful.
Overall: I give it a 10, because I can't dance to it. Great, wonderful, heady stuff.
So .. there you are.
jon from joytown
How I Use Nonkertompf:
I enjoy Nonkertompf at various times during the day. Then, I put it on just before I go to sleep. It escorts me to dreamland, which is much better these days!
Okay, I have absolutely not listened to it enough so that I can fully digestit any more than I can a wicker sofa, but I've listened enough to haveformed a semi-coherent if somewhat nondescript opinion of it. First, the short version:
Nonkertompf is exactly as it should be.
Okay, if that's a bit too enigmatic (as any accurate review of this album should be), let me elucidate some. Have you ever laid in bed at night, not quite asleep but getting there, and in your head you're creating all sorts of swirling, off-the-wall, complex yet completely friendly, beautiful, and true music? Music that you know you won't remember four seconds from now and even if you could remember it there's no way you could ever turn it into an actual listening object? Well, that's Nonkertompf.
Listening to this album I feel like Mike has tapped directly into my psyche and siphoned off just the right amount of energy to make this album at once embracing and intimidating. I find myself staring at the disc, wanting to put it on, but hesitant because I know that once I'm in the midst of it I will not want to leave, kind of like the alcoholic who just wants that one shot of Old Grand Dad but knows he'll probably end up finishing the bottle if he gives in. But finally my resolve weakens and I hit "play"; and each time I do, the landscape becomes one pixel clearer. What at first listen sounded like a pleasant string of wonderful instrumental tunes and snippets slowly takes shape in my mind as a cohesive suite of continuous flowing energies, simultaneously organic and technological, weaving not only in and out of itself but in and out of a complete musical history, both past and future. It is at this point that I start speaking in sentences much like that last one and decide that it's best to just shut up and listen. Drink deep or taste not the plasma spring, see what I'm saying? Good, I'm glad.
I have a simple, one-word summation of Nonkertompf: "unbridled." That is not to imply that former merchandisable manifestations of Mike Keneally's imagination have been restrained in some way. It's just that Nonkertompf sounds like somebody put Mike's brainwaves right to tape. We are fortunate to hear this music.
There seems to be a lot of "lost for words" type descriptions so far. Well, I am very similar. The time required to consume means that I have had the disc for 6 days now and still only played it twice. So, it is certainly not familiar yet.
I attempted to play it for my wife. First of all, you should know that she does not like me playing MK when she is around, nor FZ. It "annoys" her. I have had many a philosophical discussion about the joys of REALLY listening to music rather than having it as background, but I digress. I played it for her. She made me take it off by Track 8. "He is trying too hard...he sounds like some 60's trippy art-music throwback." was the exact quote.
After I recovered, throwing a few choice slanders back at her about Fleetwood Mac, I thought about my own reactions thus far....and I funnily enough started thinking that I would not have minded if there were more coherent medlodies and themes to follow. Weird. I hate attacking music because it is "incoherent"....it is the easiest way to slight music that people don't understand, and don't want to spend the time to digest. But, my feelings remained.
I listened once more to it after that, and although I consumed it and enjoyed it, something was missing....and I cannot help thinking that my wife's damn comments have clouded my mind too frickin' much!
It has some supreme moments of beauty....things that make you glad to be alive and have ears...but a lot of time drifts past as well.
Time to get a conclusion, Ian....I am indeed glad that this was MK's next step. I am glad I purchased it and look forward to consuming it further. But, I cannot help thinking that somehow, someway, this could have been more focused.....
And now I await the backlash, ala Ron in Sluggorama!
What an adventure I had getting this, and what an adventure I had listening to it as well. But those details have been documented elsewhere.
I first heard this album at Joe Hlavaty's Nonkertompf Listening Party on 28 August.
My first impressions were of the packaging. Simple. I love the slim 2 CD jewel case. The simple B&W photo which to me says that this will be some serious music.
I opened the case, and saw the Exowax label. It reminded me of my childhood. I grew up with vinyl, and it reminded me of the labels on vinyl albums. The calligraphy has the feel of perhaps the 40's ? Everything to me suggested childhood memories. Then to open the insert, and see the robot. That picture looks like something that could have been in my grandparents' attic. That really drove the impression home for me.
What can I say that hasn't already been said ? This is some of Mike's best production. Listening in headphones is a treat. The sounds are big and full. The recording is clean and quiet. It's not overcompressed like so many albums are. It really takes advantage of the digital domain. There is such a big pallete of sound; the sounds are just gorgeous. And every sound has tone, and can be heard. It's like a 35 course meal at a 5 star restaurant. There seems to be a bit of reverb on this album as well; Mike's rock and roll albums tend to be more raw. I thought Op Zop was the best sounding album I have heard in a while; this album is right up there with it. Raw and in your face when it needs to be, lush elsewhere.
Sometimes I get tired of music. I think that I have heard it all, and everything is retread. Albums like this restore my faith in music. It motivates me to stop being lazy, and work on my own stuff. It's rare when an album does that to me.
Some of the tunes that stand out after only about 5 listens: Click, The Knife & Drum, Chew (the opening sounds like a mutated transmographied quote of Camarillo Brillo to me), any of the Rake's Men stuff, the paprika festival. Lots of good stuff. Oh, and Drumsticks is just gorgeous.
We are also witness to Mike's ever increasing faith in himself, and it's fun to watch, listen to, and be a part of. This is not the Mike Keneally I started listening to late in 1996. Mike is taking all of us on a little journey. I don't know where it's going, but I have faith in Mike, and it will be fun.
I put this CD in my car changer after being disappointed by the recent offerings of several other bands. As usual MK did not disappoint. Nonkertompf is a richly textured, very inventive piece of music. Many folks are trying to state the CDs it reminds them of. I do not find it akin to much of anything in my collection, which is the beauty of it. In this world of copies and remakes, it is nice to experience something original. Thanks for not disappointing, Mike!
esquire and bear lover
Nonkertompf is a huge album, full of tiny little details. It is a complex music that works deeper into the soul with each hearing, yet is accessible enough that it managed to trigger that wonderful shiver-down-the-spine "this thing is just exactly perfect" feeling the very first time I played it. The whole is very much greater than the sum of its parts: it is impossible to choose a few favourite excerpts, because you have to hear the whole thing (ideally many times) to grok what it is all about. There are so many ideas flying around in here, and each 30 second snatch of sound contains at least a normal song worth of magic.
I wish I'd made this album myself. Which is strange, because MK normally has the exact opposite effect on me: he is so good that he makes me want to abandon my own feeble attempts in that direction. Nonkertompf is on a par (comparisons are meaningless at this level) with his best work ever, but there is just something about it that gets my creative juices flowing, and does interestingly creative things to my synapses.
This feels like dream music to me. You know that stage when you are mostly asleep, or perhaps extremely tired, and all sorts of wonderful melodies are flying around inside your head? Mine tend to disappear before I manage to wake up and find my way to a tape recorder, but either MK has managed to do the impossible and record his dreams, or this sort of thing comes naturally to him, in which case I'm in awe of what his dream music must be like! Either way, I'm profoundly glad that he exists.
I'm going to preface my remarks by saying that I am a HUGE fan of Mike's work -- both live and in the studio. I've seen Mike perform with both Steve Vai (during the G3 tour) and as frontman for BFD, and he was fabulous! I own all of the MK/BFD CDs, and up until now, I've thoroughly enjoyed them all.
I don't mean to be harsh, but "Nonkertompf" just doesn't work for me. I'm happy that Mike enjoyed making the album, and so many of his other fans enjoy listening to it, but it seems to be missing certain key elements that I've always enjoyed most in his music.
I *love* the way Mike can whip out catchy, quirky little ditties all day long and far into the night. I am incredibly envious of Mike's superb musicianship. What I miss most are the *songs*. To me, "Nonkertompf" sounds mostly like Mike noodling around, with a lot of very "inside" musical humor that seems to pass me by.
Don't get me wrong -- "Nonkertompf" has some extremely lucid and beautiful moments for me, but overall, this CD has failed to grab me the way Mike's previous albums (especially "Boil that Dust Speck" and "Sluggo!") have done.
Mike, please don't be angry. I expect that you would prefer honesty to false praise.
I look forward to Mike's next album with great anticipation.
Jeezuz Mary and Josuf! Mike, I've had this damn thing for 24 hours and I can't really focus my thoughts on this beautiful, awesome monstrosity you've created quite yet. Give me time though, I will. Thank you for creating something interesting to listen to.
Well, I received my Nonkertompf Special Edition and now have listened to it 3 times (which actually is not enough times to really judge the album, but hey, I'm going to do it anyway!). I'd love to extensively write the way I feel about this masterpiece, but it's hard to put words to this feeling (especially when English is not your first language..). I'll give it a try anyway..
The album simply is magical. I love the way all the tunes flow in and out of each other and have so much variation within them. Each composition seems to buzz with life. On the Nonkertalk CD the album is described by Mike and Scott as dark, but to me it's a vibrant kind of dark (and most of it is definitely not dark at all!), which manages to make me put a smile on my face from the beginning till the end of the CD. One of my favorite compositions is 'Nine'. It's the kind of music I always wanted to hear outside of my own head.. When I first listened to it the 'talking guitar' ending, it sounded to me like a flock of angry ducks was attacking my speakers..
Each time I've heard it on a different sound system. First through my regular home speakers, then on headphones and today through some terribly cheap plastic computer speakers at work. And the damn album sounds great on each of these. On my home speakers it sounded just fine. The headphones brought out some great details and those computer speakers at work almost have no low end, so I had to focus on the higher tones (and try to do some work at the same time..). This made the whole album very sparkly (especially 'drumsticks').
The Nonkertalk CD is excellent as well. I love the outtakes, especially Buzzbomb Creeper: Queen's 'Brighton Rock' to the extreme. It's great to hear MK speak so extensively about most of the songs, about how he created them and what the inspirations were.
I've read people compare it to Frank Zappa's Civilization Phaze III, which I find interesting. CPIII is my favorite album by anyone anytime. It deeply moves me on several levels. Probably because it was Zappa's final masterpiece has a lot to do with it. Even though CPIII is my favorite album I find myself not listening to it very often. With Nonkertompf I know I will put it on very regularly. In a way Nonkertompf compares very well to CPIII. It is an all instrumental and very layered masterpiece, the main difference to me is that on Nonkertompf you can hear real instruments being played, while CPIII has this serene calm of computers performing most of the sounds. It's not emotionless or static, but simply a different way of getting the music out there. Both methods ('real' instruments & computers) sound fine to me, but I think it makes Nonkertompf somewhat more accesable than CPIII.
Another thing: I never intended to buy the new 'MK ripped my head off' t-shirt, until I finally would see them live. Well that still hasn't happened, but MK expertly ripped my head off nonetheless with Nonkertompf, so I'll probably get the shirt anyway..
Mike: thanks for this more than wonderful album, which will entertain me for years to come!
(From Eindhoven, the Netherlands)
Mike/et al: pardon any mispellings/ramblings...I'm typing one-handed, in a haze. On August 20th I went in for reconstructive surgery on my shoulder. I knew it'd be weeks before I could touch my guitar or keyboard (sigh...). 2 things kept me going: 1) the realization that finally my shoulder would stop going out, & 2) Nonkertompf SE was on its way. Finally, on the 26th my friend told me it had arrived at my work address & said she'd bring it home to me after work. She forgot. DOH! By this point I've watched far too much bad t.v., watched about 14 movies via pay per view (by the way see A Simple Plan if you can, it's great) & listened to the new Spacetime Continuum & Liquid Tension Experiment 2 albums (neither of which was I all that impressed by, which kind of
disappoints me) numerous times, in between fading in & out of pain-killer induced semi-conciousness. I needed some relief!! But the next day NKSE 81/500 arrived via my faithful coworker to my joyous GLEEEEEEEEEE! I opened it and enjoyed the tactile begooberments with much enjoyment. I decided I'd wait for the full blown version & listen
to the bonus cd first. It truly was a pleasure hearing the details of the record pondered by MK & SC, with the snippets of the record interspersed to whet my appetite. Finally it had run its course & IT WAS TIME. After a short break to tend to the throbbing pain in my shoulder I returned, & put on my headphones, grabbed my cd remote & crawled up on the couch prepared to be swept away. Well, my cd player is about 15 years & change old & doesn't always love to track discs at first, especially long ones that I've been waiting a week for through loads of bad tv and pharmaceutical induced zombiness!!! AAAAGHAGHAGA!!!!! Finally after the 4th or 5th try it commenced, at around the same time the pain killers reintroduced their familiar yet ugly haze. The next 74 minutes found me taken on a long journey of
excitement, joy, confusion, contentment & downright awe. IT WAS EVERYTHING I'D HOPED & MORE!
Now the experience of injesting this record under the influence of pain killing narcotics is not one I'd recommend, but it was one I'll not forget soon. After absorbing this record for about a week now I hear so many things that I love. It touches so many of my favorite areas. It's Studio Tan era Zappa (with a little Grand Wazoo thrown in for good measure) meets Stereolab/Mahavishnu Orchestra with Bill Frisell playing all of those 70's "avant" fusion records after watching 10 episodes of THE TICK...& more.
Truly amazing. Mike, you've produced one damn fine piece of work here. I don't have a single complaint...well, except for the drums. They could be a little bigger. I'd be happier hearing a little more "room" on em too or at least a little Lexicon-esque 'verb. Oh, & hit harder Mike. Thank you for another 74 minute journey into the amazing little world of MK. Brilliant. Makes my life here in Boston a little more enjoyable.
With all the hoopla on the MK newsgroup about Nonkertompf I was greatly anticipating the release. In fact I could not wait for it to hit my mailbox. I had to drive down to Lou's and pick up the limited edition as soon as it was available. I can tell you that while I do like the CD, I love "Making Love to Jewel"! (never thought I would say that in my lifetime), it is probably my least favorite MK release not including the Tar Tapes. Maybe I was expecting instrumentals along the lines of "Egg Zooming" or "Drum Running", ya know, something more structured. I am almost afraid to say that I am not as happy with this release as I thought I would be. I am frequently less than enthralled at certain times during listening. Not being a musician it is hard to explain what is it about the disc that I do not like...I can appreciate that the music was conceived and recorded almost instantaneously, but maybe that is the problem. Guitar solos should be improvised but not whole CDs?
Wait a minute, I'm listening to Nonkertompf
as I write this, and...I love this freakin' song. Track 22, what is it?.."I Love It Here". Nevermind! I take it all back! In all seriousness, this is a ambitious project and I do respect it. It is just not what I had hoped it would be. I could be wrong and frequently am!
p.s. no, it is not quite Wankertompf!