Orchid Spangiafora
Flee Past’s Ape Elf [2xLP; Feeding Tube]

I’m not sure why Flee Past’s Ape Elf works for me and so many other similar projects don’t. But it does, and this is going to be one of those records I reference/mention maybe a little too much, I predict. Orchid Spangiafora and this 1977 masterwork showed up on Nurse With Wound’s infamous list of underground artists, but outside of the relatively tightly knit sphere of NWW, certain open minds in the punk community (Devo, Pere Ubu), and like-minded artists like Negativland, it could be said that a lot of us, myself included, never heard this one. Well, it’s time to pay the piper. Orch-Spang, nee Robert Carey, didn’t mess around when it came to sound-splicing, and unlike a lot of provocateurs known for the technique, he didn’t have much else to offer. Yet that also was the strength of the project because Carey made his own myths (you might call his gift a doppelganger to Mincemeat Or Tenspeed’s mastery of effects pedals), using samples as rhythms as much as audio signposts and tweaking them out with a hyperactive hand. Jeff Keen comes to mind, as do others, but few records, of this experimental variety and otherwise, manage to stick to such an imaginative template exclusively and keep the material cohesive for such long stretches. Flee Past’s a daunting challenge for most people, and even for those versed in the no-verse/-chorus variety of music it will be exhausting to strap down through the entire double-album. But that’s, frankly, what you must do. Besides, think about all the work it took spicing these cut-up compositions with reel-to-reels; if Carey can spend hours in an audio dungeon meticulously crafting a masterwork that will largely go unheard, you can damn-sure afford to let this remarkable record work its magic on you for the duration.


Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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