New Humans AKA Vito Acconci / New Humans / C. Spencer Yeh

[Semishigure; 2008]

Styles: noise, modern composition
Others: Tony Conrad, John Cale

The night before listening to this New Humans album, I watched Vol. 5 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force on DVD. What are the odds that the two would have something in common? If you’ve seen ATHF, then you know one of the main characters is a milkshake named Master Shake. In one episode, another milkshake named Ezekiel shows up and is at first mistaken for Shake’s son. He talks in an extremely obnoxious, mentally challenged manner, over-enunciating syllables in an effort to identify his “da-ddy.” On the first track of New Humans’ “You In the Background,” guest vocalist Vito Acconci blathers on endlessly over the track’s near 30-minute runtime, similar to this Aqua Teen character. I don’t know if such a connection would be a deal breaker for you, dear TMT reader, but it sure is for me.

On AKA Vito Acconci / New Humans / C. Spencer Yeh, New Humans spend two tiresomely long tracks running the gamut of drone and noise. Is there some unspoken genre rule suggesting records contain only two side-long tracks? Most music, noise or otherwise, can’t maintain a level of consistency over such long spans of time. Extended form compositions often sound monotonous after a few minutes or become exercises in schizophrenic idea-hopping. New Humans run face-first into the former on this record; though, to be honest, there isn’t anything unbearable about the album aside from the horrid vocalizing accompanying the first track. There really isn’t anything that interesting or innovative either. If you’ve heard a few drone records, then you’ve definitely heard something better than New Humans. Even a guest appearance by golden boy C. Spencer Yeh can’t save the album.

Obviously, my suggestion would be to look elsewhere if you’re interested in this kind of music. Both Tony Conrad and John Cale were releasing similar albums in the 1960s of a much higher caliber. Here, New Humans aim for greatness but ultimately fail to engage the listener on nearly every level. Add to that the claim that this record is supposed to represent some kind of disaffection for the current administration -- I’m not suggesting that music can’t represent political positions, but when the music itself wanders aimlessly and the only lyrical content is stream-of-consciousness rambling about completely unrelated non-topics, it certainly doesn’t add levity to the claim.

1. You In the Background
2. Double Negative

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