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The Flying Luttenbachers: Cataclysm

The Flying Luttenbachers: Cataclysm

Release Date:2006

By Marc Masters | Posted 10/11/2006

The recent addition of Orthrelm guitarist Mick Barr to prog-punk-jazz vets the Flying Luttenbachers seems almost too appropriate. Barr’s extreme agility on his chosen instrument easily matches the dizzying leaps and pulverizing blasts of the Luttenbachers’ instrumentals, music so busy it makes even Lightning Bolt sound lethargic. Drummer and founder Weasel Walter’s compositions have become so dense that you wonder if there’s any room left for Barr to make a dent.

The answer provided by Cataclysm, the Luttenbachers’ 15th album, is a resounding yes. Over nine tracks and 54 minutes, Barr and Walter--along with guitarist Ed Rodriguez and bassist Mike Green--fist their way through chopped metal riffs, flailing speed-punk, and time bombs of precisely detonated noise. At points they evoke the bouncy chops of the Minutemen, the skronk of John Zorn, and the goofball math-rock of Oxes, but this knotted music is clearly Walter and Barr’s unique, bloody creation.

The backstory the band created for Cataclysm is as impenetrable as its music, a battle between futuristic characters that even detailed liner notes can’t quite explain. But the album is a kind of musical magic-eye painting: Stare long enough and you might hear an earth-shaking robot in the pounding "Demonic Velocities," see metallic flesh tearing open in the screeching "Interstellar War," even shed an oily tear during the group’s take on the fourth movement of Olivier Messiaen’s "L’Ascension." And even if you don’t, keep staring: The farther the Luttenbachers burrow into your brain, the more their thorny music gels into patterns and washes of vivid color.

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