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Neurotic - Mazy Craniacs

Neurotic - Mazy CraniacsI'm sure that most of us have some task that we never seem to get around to finishing (or starting).  One of mine is transferring and editing hours of old home 8mm movies onto video (or DVD now).  The task has been outstanding for over ten years now but I can always come up with valid excuses which will put it off for another day, week, month, year, and so on.  Well I thought I had the art of procrastination down to a fine form until our friend, Rick Ray sent his latest release, Mazy Craniacs, by his old band, Neurotic.

Mazy Craniacs was recorded in the studio on the evening of June 22nd 1979, nearly 26 years ago.  As Rick says, he would have liked to have remixed the album but it just wasn't possible, and in my opinion, not imperative.  And perhaps the fact that it hasn't been remixed, makes Rick the ultimate procrastinator, though I am certain to catch up with him one of these days.

Actually, the reason why it wasn't remixed is because the original 8 track recording no longer exists, only the mixed 10" reel-to-reel.

Unsurprisingly, the sound is very late 70's yet quite frenetic, heavy and invariably busy.  Rick's guitar work was complex even back then but a good match for John Ray (bass), the superb Rick Schultz (electric clarinet, bass clarinet) and Harvey Phillips (drums).  Mazy Craniacs is by no means of the imagination, 'commercial' and will probably frighten those who can only take their rock weak and watered down.  Even those who are not of a nervous disposition may wince a little on first listening to the album but if you do your daily exercises first and eat that rare to medium steak and let it spin a couple of times (the CD, not your head) and it will all fall into place.

The majority of the album is instrumental and it's not just the instruments that are plugged in to the mains.  I imagine the local neighbourhood experienced a power outage during that evening in June '79.  There are some excellent moments in Where The Wild Things Are but The Walrus is for me the highlight of the album, though special mention must also go to Connoisseurs In The Metal Field and the Zappa-esque Bomb Day where Shultz' clarinet rocks in a jazz sort of way.

26 years from recording to release may seem a long time to youngsters but for me it was just yesterday.  Note to self - transfer cine film by 2020.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Rick Ray

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