Quintron The Frog Tape

[Skin Graft; 2004]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: lo-fi organ boogie, retro lounge in hell, monster dance party
Others: halloween sound effects records

I first witnessed the power of the almighty Quintron by accident when he opened for The White Stripes (Is it un-cool to like them yet?) in St. Louis last summer. See, Whirlwind Heat were supposed to open, but when I arrived at the venue there were all kinds of wonderful contraptions on the stage, and smack dab in the middle was an organ with a cloth draped over it that had "QUINTRON" stitched on it. I was not ready for an organ solo of that magnitude.

After that show, I was sucked into the world of Quintron's wonderful gadgets (look up the Drum Buddy) and Ms. Pussycat's (his wife, band mate, and member of the Puppeteers of America) delightfully twisted and trippy puppet shows. I snagged all the recordings I could and read everything I could find, and I've still only heard a fraction of his output and know very little about him. So naturally, when his new album The Frog Tape arrived at my doorstep, I was anxious to hear what Quintron had in store this time around. Would I be getting more sonic experiments ala I.F. 001-011? Or perhaps more dance party sounds like Are You Ready for an Organ Solo? The answer lies somewhere in between.

It's hard to tell if this is an album meant to be listened to, or to be used as background music. All evidence points to the latter, with the front demanding that the listener "Play on Halloween Night!" and with the back declaring that it's "perfect for parties, haunted houses, or trick or treaters." That's not to say that the songs aren't good, but with the exception of the last track, they're all under 2 minutes and 30 seconds, so they never really get a chance to develop. "Stray Cat Strut" and "Scary Office" are the most listenable of the whole set, conveying the moods their titles suggest. "Bride of Frankenstein" is a mish-mash of Drum Buddy and organ, while "The Throat" is exactly that: Quintron making sounds with his throat for a minute. Quintron even takes the time to show off his new "backwards playing technique," which creates the sonic illusion of a record being played backwards.

The last track is a bit of a gem. It's 14 and a half minutes of frog sounds with no processing or overdubs. Animal and insect field recordings have been made before, and will be made again, but it's still always interesting to hear some of the sounds that come out of nature, free of any influence from man. Nothing new here, but interesting nonetheless.

So the next time you want to freak out your friends at party, or scare some kids at night, slap this bad-boy on the stereo, sit back, and watch the fun.

1. Horror
2. The Throat
3. Mood
4. Stray Cat Strut
5. Backwards
6. Bride of Frankenstein
7. Scary Office
8. No Love
9. Frogs