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Quintron - The Frog Tape

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Artist: Quintron

Album: The Frog Tape

Label: Skin Graft

Review date: Oct. 28, 2004

On his own and in cahoots with his puppeteering wife Miss Pussycat, Mr. Quintron has done his bit to keep fun alive by dressing up old-fashioned Hammond organ grinding with retro-futuristic electronics and after-school TV antics. He’s best experienced live, where you can see the sweat roll off his pencil-thin mustache and drip onto the keyboard, or marvel at his inventions. It’s one thing to hear the Drum Buddy, his homemade, light-operated drum machine manufactured from a turntable and a coffee can, and another to see the can spin around and spit out beats like a cartoon character spraying watermelon seeds. Still, he’s put out some swell records – These Hands Of Mine is a personal favorite. Alas, this isn’t one of them.

The Frog Tape, as you might gather from the name, started life as a cassette-only release. One side was a selection of Quintron’s home rehearsals, the other an authentic field recording of swamp frogs (Quintron is a proud resident of New Orleans’s Ninth Ward – he probably didn’t have to go too far from home for source material). But what might have been a nifty post-concert impulse purchase seems rather slim when you put it on a CD, and not just because discs are skinnier than tapes. With a total running time that’s a sliver less than 30 minutes, there’s just not a lot here, certainly not enough to justify charging full-album price. And a lot of what’s included is hardly top drawer.

The opening electronic snippet “Horror” isn’t very scary, and is too short to be much of anything else. “The Throat,” which lasts less than a minute, is just a compendium of funny noises followed by a B-movie spooky laugh. You used to smack your little brother over the head for doing stuff like this – do you really need to pay for someone to do it to you now? And do you really need a solo organ rendition of “Stray Cat Strut?” Only the grimy cha-cha “Scary Love” is likely to lure repeat playings beyond your Halloween party. For that, use the Frogs side. It doesn’t achieve the wild pseudo-electronic modulations of the recent Broken Hearted Dragonflies disc on Sublime Frequencies, but it does provide a wealth of dank polyrhythmic croaking.

By Bill Meyer

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