Mama Baer’s newest offering, Perverted People Girl Fuckers, starts off knee-deep in a pool of its own brand of insanity, a pool that this CD-r–released by Buffalo label House of Alchemy--never quite escapes from. Mama Baer, the alter ego of Andrea Katharina Ingeborg Hjuler, an interdisciplinary German artist, does a fine job of submerging you into her universe. Listening to her recordings is like peering into a porcelain tub of blackened water that reaches out to pull you in. Through five cinematic tracks, all untitled, you will experience a sideshow spectacle unlike any other, perhaps described best as an auditory soup. No, more accurately, pour the soup into a blender that tears through each stack of sound to create a disorienting mood where you cannot identify the events between this minute and the last.
The first untitled track also works as a soundtrack to multiple personality disorder. The recording superimposes devilish sniveling over a tragic solo singing piece that morphs into something sinister that I won’t ruin for you here.
The second tracks begins with carnivalesque sounds that go awry and revert back into the fractured psyche of the observer we’ve possessed; like Being John Malkovich only with abuse replacing comedy. This turns into a drowned out guitar jamming with a singer, with the guitar consistent but free, droning away as it plays around. It rapidly shifts from a chaotic frenzy to a quiet accompaniment of the singer, both sounding like they’re having an abrupt musical breakdown in a trafficked hallway. A pretty traditional rockabilly section then emerges before it stops on a dime and throws you into a dark room, strapping you to a chair and reminding you that the preceding orgiastic arrangement was merely a distraction from the torture at the hands of a lunatic. Beside you is a television on a pitch-black channel with a single bright light shining above you. You try to move your limbs and escape from the ritual sacrifice you’re about to become the star of. It’s here on the album where the subtle production cues really made me smile, with the foreboding female’s voice starting to harmonize with the black channel’s white noise.
The album is full of similar compositions, simultaneously mundane and sinister. Track three makes great use of layered ominous vocal arrangements and reminds me of the music they play at the moment the female protagonist of a horror film snaps and starts collecting human limbs for the doll she wants to build. The fourth track, with cosmic horrors haunting her and her audience, could be a vantage point into Mama Baer’s mental breakdown in the middle of a psych ward.
The last track, however, is my favorite. It is definitely the most cinematic of the album’s tracks, at times strongly reminding me of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, where I envisioned crossing over a river of Styx, filled with damned souls, on through to Dante’s Inferno.
The disorienting theme throughout the album is reinforced when no attempt at making the words understandable is made. In fact, it seems Mama Baer goes out of her way to obscure her lyrics. It’s multi-lingual and at parts screamed to the point of severe over-modulation, or whispered barely audible enough to register, or even reversed. But it is clear there is a narrative underlying this theater of sounds.
Perverted People Girl Fuckers is album that might have just enough jaw-dropping elements to break through to someone who has no foundation in experimental music, while also having a certain accessibility that can easily be tapped into by people who haven’t yet grown the faculties to appreciate this abstract neo-dada music. Perhaps if it were instead the soundtrack to an animated series of challenging short films it could earn the opportunity to be lauded, perhaps even as groundbreaking. But I personally like the lack of visuals, because I’m not forced to associate my own mental images with that of a director and it allows me to creatively interpret it as I see fit. I could see the album working as either the soundtrack for a compilation of short films or a venture into the life of someone who’s been severely traumatized. I’m sure you can find your own ways to interpret the music. Overall, I highly recommend this one to anyone with an open mind. It begs repeat listens, and when it ended the first time I had to put it on again. I know I won’t be the only one.
Review by Roth’s Child