Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Von LMO
Future Languages


Released 1981 on Flemish Masters
Reviewed by aaroneous, 06/04/2001ce


For those who weren't there (myself included), it's hard to believe that No Wave music was EVER all the rage anywhere, let alone post punk downtown New York. All most of us have to go on is bad movies with folks with big hair/no hair and 3D glasses jerking around in their skinny ties. Leave your base preconceptions at the door, because, as the alien himself proclaims (after saying, strangely enough, "Long live Heavy Metal") "This is POP ROCK, so kick up your feet, get up and dance!!!!"

Before launching into the prerequisite insistence that everyone on the planet buy, borrow, or steal a copy of this album or risk peril of cosmic proportions, some background information is in order. Mr. Lmo (pronounced like El-Moe) was born on the planet Strazar in what is proported to be the "black light dimension". He claims to be a messenger of cosmic transmissions from space, including the International Transmitting Signal for Universal Peace, invocations to "Be Yourself" and various other uplifting sentiments. He arrived to our dimension, and immediately commenced transmissions, first with his 60;s band Funeral Of Art, later with 70's electro industrial Kongress, and finally, with the early post punk group Red Transistor.

What is documented on the album "Future Languages" (dumped directly to cd from an unopened copy of the original album, due to the master tapes being deleted!) is essentially the Von Lmo Band, featuring the honking, squawking sax work of Juno Saturn, ridiculously processed guitars (which literally sound like space ships landing) by Mike Gee and Von, the unbelievably hyper bass of George Matthewson, and manic percussive destruction of Bobby Ryan. Von himself shouts, hollers, sings, croons, and whoops over the music like a frenzied storefront preacher singing the gospel of late night b-movie sci fi. You will beleive every word he says or risk planetary catastrophe. You have been warned.

The first track begins with a bunch of noise, and LMO's dramatic telling a story of a message traveling through space, then explodes into a menacing little riff with the sax and guitar evoking images of pumped teenage fists, as VON leers and screams

LOOK INTO MY EYES,
WATCH ME HYPNOTIZE YOU!
TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE
I'LL TELL YOU HOW IT'S GONNA BE, BABY

Long live heavy metal!

Track two is what happens when a straight up punk/hardcore band jams with Jimi Hendrix and Ornette Coleman on the mothership, and the recorded results are played at 78 rpm. He cheers us all up by telling us that:
"DOUBLE INFINITY WILL BE ON YOUR SIDE, BABY." Well, that's comforting, at least.

The third song "OUTSIDE OF TIME" is the closest thing to a chill groove on the album, over which Lmo plays the most frenzied guitar pyrotechnics imaginable. I can't explain it at all. Try mixing Blue Cheer with Eddie Hazel on crystal meth, then blend in a healthy dose of, I don't know, Megadeth? Then turn all the effects pedals to 11.

Most of the songs are flanged two chord romps, with the bass carrying the melody, a completely overdriven guitar intro and a "Scream thy last scream"-like little munchkin voice that apes everything Von Lmo sings. "Leave your body" is techno punk greatness, moshable and completely trippy all at once. "If you don't think you're number one, nobody's gonna think you're number one", he tells us, and this explains a lot of the boldness of this album.

The album's high point is the anthemic "Radio World", which has a great sing along chorus, a steady building frenzy, and sampled AM radio noise blending with the rest of the squawk perfectly. The bass playing is an absolutely trancendent, strummed and plucked bundle of energy, and the sax pumps a drone like a danger signal on a spaceship crashing into some distant sun before screaming out a completely off key solo of protest at its own demise.

The last track on the album is performed live at a STADIUM show that Von Lmo apparantly FUNDED HIMSELF! The madman did this several times, stopping only when he had absolutely no money left to do it again, at which point he went into "suspended animation" as he called it, only to resurface in 1997 with a new album and a series of New York shows.

A Von Lmo concert is not to be missed. I had the pleasure to catch him at CBGBs before I knew who he was, and was completely dumbfounded. How can anyone play that insanely and have it all work? How old is that guy? What's up with the space suit? I needed to know more, and this CD only solves a part of the mystery. Perhaps we will find the answer before mankind's impending doom. Perhaps we will be able to decifer the message delivered by this intergalactic messenger. Perhaps.


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