Gary Panter and Devin Flynn have incredible resumes as visual artists. Panter was at the forefront of punk art and neo-cubist comics during the 70s, and Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise remains a cyberpunk classic. Flynn is an amazing animator, and his career is expanding and swelling like a crudely drawn boner. His online comic, “Y’all So Stupid,” is like brain vomit overflowing from a blender on its way to being anally imbibed via ass-bong. Flynn was also one of the crucial figures from the Fort Thunder era, performing in Pixeltan and Plate Techtonics, among other bands. Being from different eras, one might wonder how Panter and Flynn ever got together to create the stoniest musical thing since The Residents. Panter has a solid 20 years on Flynn by my recollection, yet there seems to be perfect collaborative energy puddling in the midst of these nib and brush rapscallions.
But even if you’re not familiar with Panter or Flynn, you owe it to yourself to be intensely curious about what these two have created as a band. Need some sort of obscure comparison to whet your whistle? If No-Neck Blues Band did a show at Pee Wee’s Playhouse, this might be the result. I mention Pee Wee with intentionality, though, for Gary did the set design for that show and won a fucking Emmy. How many psychedelic rigatoni orchestras boast an Emmy to their resume? None as far as I know. Still have no idea what to expect? Good. But I’m not above hints, so I will try to explain.
Sit down and take some bong hits. Big ones. Maybe put some ice in the water, and make sure it’s no shorter than two feet. Then stand up. Drink some beer. You’re getting closer. Because, after all, being prepared to listen to Go Outside is about being able to embrace the ridiculous absurdity of this ramble with no preconceptions. If you don’t need drugs to listen to some totally wacky nonsense like this, then kudos to you, mon frere. Perhaps you also think Step Brothers is genius.
Truth be told, this album is a mix of random noises, bubbling wash, guitar noodles, and a fair dash of out-of-the-blue melody. One should expect extended sequences of seemingly direction-less exploration punctuated with passages that sound like Hunter Thompson barking through a megaphone during a kindergarten music class. There are some more melodic sections, to be sure, and they have the same sort of jolly ole-time charm as early Pink Floyd or perhaps Skip Spence.
Credit should be given to Devin Flynn for the bizarre textures, as he apparently employed “many exotic sound devices” in the recording of the album, according to the jacket. Well, perhaps he doesn’t enjoy all the credit for the weirdness, but there are a panoply of odd sounds here and there, and the overdub musthave been used with aplomb. I suppose these songs could have been written, practiced, and perfected prior to recording. But it sure sounds like they just fucked around until they found a groove and then jammed on it until it fell apart.
I don’t want to give the impression that this is just some sort of onanistic tour de force; I’ll leave that up to a critic with a stiffer collar on their shirt. In my mind, this is my favorite weirdness of the year, and I’ll cough and sputter till January 1, 2011 proclaiming this to be the year of Devin and Gary. My house will be a vibrating coffin of creative goo, coated in bran flakes batter and deep fried in cod liver oil retrieved from the pyramids. And now I must GO OUTSIDE.