Randy Greif ‎– Alice In Wonderland

Label:
Soleilmoon Recordings ‎– SOL 55 CD
Format:
5 × CD, Remastered
Box Set, Compilation
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Released:
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Notes

Randy Greif's "Alice in Wonderland" was first released on the Staalplaat label in the Netherlands between 1991 and 1993. The series was very limited in number and has been out of print since the initial pressings. For this reissue, the sound has been remastered, and the artwork and packaging redesigned. The total playing time is approximately 6 hours of what has been described as challenging listening electronic soundscapes, deconstructed text and computer manipulations.

A set of limited edition trading cards has been created by Greif, and published in conjunction with the release of this box set. A random selection of five of the sixty cards are included here and others may be purchased from Soleilmoon Recordings and other retail outlets.

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October 6, 2012
Six hours. That is the rough length of this box set, so when you put it on you have committed yourself to spending most of your day with it. At most, three times is the amount you will be able to listen to Greif's epic in a twenty four hour period. Is this advisable? Possibly. You'd better have prepared yourself for a ride of gargantuan proportions because this work twists and turns, going down one path for a short period and then abruptly up ending itself to commence another journey in a completely different direction... one which you could swear you'd already been down but some new details have appeared and one's mind begins to play tricks on it. Have you read Lewis Carroll's classic? Well that might help a little bit in terms of narrative but the music which swirls and sways around it is of a distinctly extraterrestrial composition. Come along with Randy as he catalogs mangled rhythms, contused melodies and garbled transmissions from well beyond the event horizon of sanity.

Are you sure of your orientation in this place? Does time flow in the same manner you're accustomed to? Is it even moving at all or has everything frozen in place and your eyes remain wide open, pleading for it to resume. This is not a normal world to be a part of, curiouser and curiouser as Alice might say. I have long maintained that this so-called children's novel is a sly, Victorian-era manifesto on the properties and positivity resulting from a psychotic psychedelic session which one man found himself lost within. Rather than succumb to madness, he decided to utilize his heightened state of awareness to breathe life into a land of shrinking characters and alarmingly enchanting flora. Take a walk along the hidden path we've found since our fall down the rabbit hole. So many references are made to this portal into other realities, but this is where the term was first coined (as far as I know) and through it our heroine enters a world at first not entirely dissimilar from our own.

This, of course, is soon shown to be a fallacy and the tone of this massive set begins to take on a more livid and poisonous tone. The tone, once again, is the main constant of this release, and like the subject matter at hand it does not proceed in any form of linear coherence. The panic of our characters as they race this way and that across the page is succinctly captured by Mr. Greif through the usage of all manner of audio sorcery. Voices are manipulated, terrain is seen from both above and below; through and through our ears and minds become coated in a synthetic residue of uneasy realizations. Alice often wondered many times throughout this tale how changed she had become by her experiences (a fair observation to be leveled at Carroll also, I'd imagine) and so will you. Just staring out of a window becomes an intimidating task, because what you perceive on the other side of it of it may be only a fastidiously painted image which unseen hands clutch at violently, giving the illusion of movement and spatial definition.

Originally this was not a complete set, these five albums were issued individually on cassette and CD between the years 1991 and 1993. I remember giddily humming along to them as they were released, at first alone in my room in my parent's house quite altered on Hoffmann's restorative and then later on around friends in their respective apartments doing other substances which enhanced this material exponentially. Once the final part had been put out, we listened at first in the early morning hours and then grew more and more restless as the light grew louder behind the curtains. During this experience, a compatriot of mine became so completely disoriented with his surroundings that his mind began to snap before our very eyes; to cut a very long story short, we had to talk him in from the ledge... literally. And now, all this time later, I find myself much older, sipping tea and once again listening to Randy Greif's magnum opus for Alice In Wonderland.

Stunningly, none of the material contained in this work has aged at all. Everything remains as fresh and gorgeously experimental as ever it was; time may have shifted it's fixed point to 2012 but the senses are not fooled. I know where I am and who I am, the places I have walked and the people I have known are all quite apparent in my mind yet for all the anchoring which that damnable hourglass is so smug in assigning: everything which has gone before now comes to the frontal lobes of grey matter and saturates them thoroughly as if to say that I've only been treading the murky waters of my subconscious rather than moving through them. Similar to being soaked through to the bone after getting caught out unawares in a downpour, the hours slip off the clock to join the patchwork of their decaying, yellowing compatriots and I am adrift within the voids of memory and synaptic disconnection.

I'm going outside now, I may be gone for some time.
Wotzenknecht

Wotzenknecht

July 17, 2009
edited over 9 years ago

Randy Greif's twist on Alice in Wonderland is ridiculously misknown and underrated.

It's like the Residents, Nod, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Pierre Henry, Illusion of Safety and Deutsch Nepal having fun collapsing Lewis Carroll's tale with new dimensions. A kaeidoscophic and psychedelic unquiet dream that can become either mind-numbing or nightmarish ("You Are Old Father Williams" reminds me of Scott Walker's "The Drift"). Most of the time the listener is put into a kind of trance or numbness until the recitation comes again like a bubble exploding at the surface of this mudd. Sometimes the mudd turns into quicksand and absorb oneself until asphyxiation.

If you see it, grab it and try either a five-days sleep therapy or a one evening marathon : madness in its most erotic state.