Other than hearing "To Mom..." on the JOHN PEEL show when it came out, and "Candy Man" on the recent "Tyranny Of The Beat" album, I knew of MONTE only through reputation - he was, after all, the guy who coined the term "Industrial Music" way back in the mid-Seventies, and who supported (and was consequently supported by) THROBBING GRISTLE during their short but wonderful existance. I approached this album with both an eager thirst to hear more from this infamous figure, and a certain trepidation - "The Worst Of..."; " . . one sick fucker, . . " other such references suggested a negative hype, which in a way it can only be, while it can also work against this release - would those unfamiliar with CAZAZZA be put off?
Well · if that's the case, then this is their loss, As with the second review, this is a chance to sup from the wellspring of dark creativity, instead of taking your sustainance from a couple of decades further down, where all manner of folk have pissed into the flow. The opening track "Psychiatric Review" seems to reinforce doubt to the value of this album. It purports to be narrated by a Bart Alberti M.D., who's vitriolic assessment of the artist sounds as if he has been trapped in a Freudian time capsule for the last fifty years and hasn't yet been exposed to society today. The Freudian 'anal/genital' panacea has always been a bit dodgy, and here the psychiatrist slavers away accusing MONTE of various perverse thoughts/words/deeds, while reaching a state of near orgiastic obsession himself. Definite anal retentive! "To Mom On Mother's Day" - the first proper track is a treat for we TG addicts - I hadn't realised they were responsible for the 'music' but apparently they were. Okay, so it's not their best work - bland-but-distinctive with that phased guitar & wall of sound running alongside a bright out-of-place drum pattern. The first time you hear MONTE's voice you think oh, this guy sounds nice - clean-cut, respectable, soft spoken' and the title bears out the thinking. Then you start to think yeah, but ED GEIN was a nice guy, wasn't he?', and begin to read between the lines. "Candy Man" - familiar from the "Tyranny" album is a churning mass of spoken word & sound - THROBBING GRISTLE again, goddammit! It assaults the senses, overloading your ability to separate one voice from another. The words presumably are about a mass murderer - a strangler & how other murders are tied in with the killer. "Rabid Rats (Vietnam)" - probably harkening back to his using live rats onstage - is a solo effort about how the creatures were used to flush out Viet Cong from their hiding places. "Distress" is a strange mixture of taped screams, gunfire, explosions & ambient noise with some jolly words sung over the top. "Mary Bell" is a simple sing-song nursery rhyme, delving into NWW territory (I imagine) - mocking children's voices & toy piano. COSEY FANNI TUTTI adds her voice to this one. "Kick The Habit Man" is the first full sounding piece of music - a simple, noise electronic rhythm over which MONTE repeats the title cut up so the four words form themselves a myriad different ways, calling left, answering right. Lyrics are said to be by BRION GYSIN - BILL BURROUGHS' cut-up buddy, but whether this is true or not...well, does it really matter? "First/Last" follows similar lines lyrically, but over a noisy Industrial backdrop, contributed to by all TG members except COSEY. A real migraine vector. "Tiny Tears" is another sing-song nursery rhyme with voice only (presumably recorded on a cheap tape deck - loadsa hiss) - a nasty little tale of ball pein hammers and refridgerators. "Stairway To Hell" is probably an antidote for a well-known Rock number. It's a slowish, catchy piece of music built up simply enough on a naff CASIO-type drum rhythm - another full recording which simply begs cover versions. I'd compare this one to COIL at their best. "Sex Is No Emergency" is again built on a cheap drum pattern for which the other instruments seem to make up - highlighting slimy bassline & MONTE's voice, a little less emotional - a little more metallic. "A Snitch Is A Snitch" is the longest track here - 8'59" - built on a simplistic drum box/single note guitar grunge thud - and is, despite it's simplicity, one of the most interesting tracks on the entire album showing the orator at his best - talking in a calm voice, not unlike CALE on "The Gift" although the music's so much thinner, seeming to grow in intensity, swelling in cold waves. Although listed as "A Is For Atom" what seems to be "Six Eyes From Hell" builds on a deep thumping rhythm to be a quite wonderful piece of music - distinctive in it's eyes-front determination. Again it brings the VELVET UNDERGROUND to mind - violins & a bassy, moody rhythm - akin to "Venus In Furs". "Liars (Feed Those Christians To The Lions)" is a thudding, wonderful piece of music. Relentless in it's pace, a medium-fast, hugely atmospheric thing with whispered female/male voices - a thunderous piece, opening & closing with something akin to lion's roar. "A is for Atom" comes next - first of three from THE ATOM SMASHERS - a group with MONTE playing percussion, synthesizers & tapes as well as singing. It's a medium-paced rhythmic thing - fairly passive yet intense. It reminds me of Rap, although it's a more laid back approach. "If Thoughts Could Kill" follows the same approach, getting a surprisingly different sound, yet again sounding Hip Hop/Rap in it's lyrics. Drums are heavy, guitar languid, electronics bright-yet-subtle. "Mark Of The Devil" opens with strange pathetic found voice, church organ, basic Rock / New Wave drum / rhythm patterns - a flatter, looser track with similar elements to the above two tracks. The taped voices are interesting, but you'll have to buy it to find out why. The album closes, conveniently, with "Climax" a warm, thick, heavy, bassy rhythmic vehicle for orgiastic groans and ghostly voices, whalesong/wolfhowl, seductive suggestions and all manner of samples/loop tapes. A fittingly wonderful end to the album.
Over an hour of interesting, music/noise. How can you possibly resist?
Don't know what to think of this, really... 'The Worst of Monte Cazazza' is supposed to be as shocking to the very edge of nerves - but the irony has it, listeners cannot really tell this from that in this collection; Cazazza used obscene concepts all over alright, lucky for us caught unawares accepting it in terms of "listening enjoyment", "art" or simply accepting it as dark humour, hitting heads against a cemented brickwall.
The lyrics are somewhat childish ('Mary Bell', or the rest of the subject matter here tackling Christianity) while on the other hand it is fairly sick ('Candyman', 'Rabid Rats (Vietnam)', including the intimidating-on-the-surface intro from the psychiatrist's official reports)... some of the shock tactics seem a bit dated for there are thousands of serial killers out there nowadays flaring with far more innovative taking over this bloody manifesto...
This is a collection of obscure and/or hard-to-find material pulled from singles and compilations - basically, the early period when Cazazza recorded for his friends' TG label Industrial plus Sordide Sentimental and the like. Pleasant surprises include 'Sex Is No Emergency' (which sounds almost like Tuxedomoon), then there's 'Kick That Habit Man' - a masterpiece instant hit-single with dadaist leanings... File under mindfuck.