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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 76 - 12/19/02

Daevid Allen's University Of Errors
Ugly Music For Monica

The British-French-Australian gang of Gong should've been a frequent guest here at Luna Kafé. They're the only band I know of concerned about the whereabouts of the moon when planning their gig schedule. They tend to start tours and other major events at the strike of the full moon. Daevid Allen is the most vital part of Gong, but he is involved in numerous other projects as well. University Of Errors is Professor Allen's current American band, established in 1998.

Ugly Music For Monica is the faculty's third recorded effort. I bought a pre-release copy when the band visited Oslo earlier this term. By now it's been given a proper release. So far I haven't found the name of the record company. My copy says AudiocrashCD01; the real release has catalogue number Errz 003. Maybe it's a GAS release (Gong Appreciation Society)? At least you can buy it from them. Whereas Gong is a hippie-dippie eccentric gang, according to Prof. Allen 'University Of Errors is an aggressive political anti capitalist rock band & does not always give out positive vibes. It is more punk than hippy and in it I work with dissonance & shadow. I see this band as art as a mirror. Reflecting back the ugliness of the world.'

To me their gig at Oslo's So What! club was more refreshing than the Gong gigs at the same spot a year earlier. UoE was a confident, young and potent gang. Especially UoE's lead guitarist Josh Pollock who uses a left-handed technique similar of Hendrix's, but simpler - I guess - and more aggressive. Some songs - "Rich Men Eat My Voice" and "Patapan" in particular - remind of early British punk bands like Vibrators or even Sex Pistols. "Wage Slave" might have been a glam-hit with T. Rex 30 years ago. "Skulls Of Our Enemies" is a standard semi-heavy rock instrumental, if ever there was one. But there are quieter moments as well. "So What" (little to do with the aforementioned club, I guess), "Moo?" and "If You Die" are probably the closest tracks to eccentric Gong, though lyricwise more down to earth, whereas "Mystico Fanatico" and "Earthbound" are somewhere in between. The old Gong song "Pot Headed Pixie" (here retitled "PHP 2032") and Kevin Ayers' "Clarence In Wonderland" (also performed while he was part of the Gong collective around 1971) are given rough treatments, the latter closer to Velvet Underground than anything else. But most songs are not that straight forward after all. Many include lengthy instrumental parts, mainly guitar driven that owe more from psychedelia than punk which make the songs more interesting and the album last longer.

Prof. Allen sounds as vital here as ever. Although he soon ought to be ready for retirement (he's more than 60 years old) his creativity doesn't seem to have weakened. It might have something to do with the musicians he collaborates with as well, I guess. Anyway, enrolment at the University Of Errors might not be your biggest mistake. And you don't need to do a Jumping Jack Flash to get in touch with GAS, GAS, GAS or check out the University's own home page.

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