pere-ubu long-live-pere-ubu

Pere Ubu
with Sarah Jane Morris
Long Live Père Ubu!

Hearpen Records HR149
(North America) 9/14/09 cd.

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Long Live Père Ubu! Links

Animations by The Brothers Quay: Song Of The Grocery Police and March Of GreedPress ReleaseFAQHyper-naturalism™LLPU Photos & Art • Theatrical productions: Long Live Père Ubu! - The Spectacle and Bring Me The Head


Long Live Père Ubu! Release Notes

This album is the centerpiece of a project, two years in the works, which is an adaptation of the Absurdist stage play that gave the band its name - Alfred Jarry's "Ubu Roi" (King Ubu). The songs are the backbone of a theatrical production, "Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi", which premiered in 2008 over two days at London's prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall. A Radio Play was recorded as an audio storyboard for a proposed film by The Brothers Quay, who created animations for the theatrical production.

"Ubu Roi" premiered in Paris in 1896 provoking riots in the theatre and a national scandal. It was banned after only two performances. The story was a re-telling of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and is a vicious satire of the bloated and corrupt state of pre-World War I Europe.

"Brutal, lacking charm, and without redeeming values, this is an album for our times," Pere Ubu founder David Thomas says. "It is, in fact, the only punk record that's been made in the last 30 years."

"Long Live Père Ubu!" is not background music. It's not "fun" music. It's an intellectual and conceptual challenge and as viciously satirical as Jarry's original. "If you're not going to listen to this with the same effort you'd devote to a literary novel, you're wasting your time," Thomas says. "It's long past time for rock music to grow up and move past the simpering platitudes or Tom Joad cant that passes for serious thought. All hail the survival of the Unfit!"

Every moment of the sound has been carefully crafted as a narrative voice in its own right according to Thomas' hyper-naturalistic™ recording methods. For more than a decade, working in partnership with engineer Paul Hamann, Thomas has accumulated an array of "junk-o-phones" to replace studio microphones. These include speakers salvaged from broken devices, wooden boxes, metal horns, panes of glass, even doors, wired into specialized electronics, likewise salvaged from castaways.

David Thomas, of course, is the voice of Père Ubu. Sarah Jane Morris (Communards, Happy End) was recruited to sing the role of Mère Ubu. Pere Ubu's soundman, Gagarin, an ambient electronica recording artist in his own right, guests on the album and joins the band on stage. The rest of the band, unchanged from the last studio album, Why I Hate Women, sing other roles. They are Keith Molinè on guitar; Robert Wheeler on EML synthesizer, theremin; Michele Temple on bass; and Steve Mehlman on drums.

Long Live Père Ubu! Production Notes

Produced by David Thomas.
Engineered by Paul Hamann.
Recorded and mixed at Suma, Painesville OH, at various times between January and September 2008.
Portions recorded elsewhere by David Thomas, Dids and Michele Temple.
Music for "The Story So Far" recorded at Harvest Moon, Milan OH.
Front cover photo of Mère and Père Ubu by Angell.
Live photos by Mark Mawston.
Package design by John Thompson, www.idrome.net.

Ubu Overture written by Molinè. Song Of The Grocery Police, Banquet Of The Butchers, March Of Greed, Less Said The Better, Big Sombrero (Love Theme) and Bring Me The Head written by Thomas, arrangements by Mehlman - Molinè; - Temple - Thomas - Wheeler. Road To Reason, Slowly I Turn, Watching The Pigeons and The Story So Far written by Mehlman -Molinè - Temple - Thomas - Wheeler. Snowy Livonia written by Mehlman - Temple. Elsinore & Beyond written by Gagarin - Molinè; - Thomas.

All songs ©2009 Ubu Projex, administered by Cooking Vinyl Music in the ROW. All songs ©2009 Ubu Projex, administered by Bug Music in North America.


Pere Ubu Instrumentation:

David Thomas - "Père Ubu," xiosynth, organ, bass
Sarah Jane Morris - "Mère Ubu"
Keith Molinè - guitar, vocals
Robert Wheeler - EML synthesizer, theremin, vocals
Gagarin - electronica
Michele Temple - bass, vocals, other instruments
Steve Mehlman - drums, vocals, belching galore, percussion

Long Live Père Ubu! Release History


Long Live Père Ubu! Songs

Ubu Overture
Song Of The Grocery Police
Banquet Of The Butchers
March Of Greed
Less Said The Better
Big Sombrero (Love Theme)
Bring Me The Head
Road To Reason
Slowly I Turn
Watching The Pigeons
The Story So Far
Snowy Livonia
Elsinore & Beyond


Press Reaction

Charlie Dontsurf, Les Haricots Sont Pas Sale
"The sound is a pure wonder. It envelops you. It gets into your head and won't let go. A musical earthquake."

Mick Houghton, Uncut October 2009.
"Reminiscent of Beefheart or Zappa's early sound collage, Lumpy Gravy."

Ric Rawlins, Artrocker, October 2009
"The soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas with lyrics by William Burroughs... yet another case of Pere Ubu charting a map of their own unique design."

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More reviews

Richard Wheelhouse, Sea Of Tranquility, 1/7/10.
It is low-key, insidious, sinister and stark. It is also very, very, good. The jarring instrumentation is challenging and interesting throughout, and is never allowed to sit in the background behind the vocals, but those vocals are undoubtedly the album's greatest strength. Dripping with character, a huge range of vocal trickery that fleshes out the tale of decadence never slips into silly-voice territory. Instead simply squeezing ever last ounce of personality from the odious characters they portray, the scathing tone in the tale of loathsome and corruptible rulers is perfectly judged.

Mark In The Blue House, Trotsky's Cranium, 10/16/9.
There is nothing easy about Long Live Pere Ubu! It is an artistic provocation. The comparisons to Captain Beefheart and musique concrete are inevitable. But I prefer David Thomas's recent assertion that this is the "only punk record that's been made in the last 30 years." He's right - in the best sense of the word "punk." There was a time - before all the pop formulae and marketing - when diversity marked the world of punk music. It was meant to confront, challenge, and tear down the walls... Bands that were nothing alike aesthetically could make common cause under the punk banner because it was all about creativity. Not so anymore... This is bizarre stuff and ultimately REALLY rewarding. This band just gets better and better. Highly recommended.

Sam Shepard, musicOHM
Make no mistake, this is an album that requires an awful lot of investment of time and understanding from the listener to fully appreciate the scale of what has been achieved. But it is more than worth it. Long Live Pere Ubu is a challenging, difficult and incredibly rewarding listen. Uncomfortable at times, but always controlled, intelligent and due to the subject matter, often outrightly childish. It represents a considerable achievement both musically and intellectually. Pere Ubu deserve widespread recognition for a wonderful piece of work that needs to be heard by as many people as possible.

Lee Wochner, Ubuwerks, 9/9/9.
Thirty-four years on, 20 years past the last gasping relevance of the Rolling Stones, Pere Ubu retains the industrial crackle of original thought. That makes every new CD by them a release worthy of anticipation.

Steve Terrell, Santa Fe New Mexican, 10/1/9
"Long Live Père Ubu!" is a compelling and dark album, if not an all-out rocker. The press material is right - it's not background music. It certainly isn't easy listening. But if you're twisted enough, it's a lot of fun, no matter what the press release says.

Mark Rowland, pennyblackmusic
Menacing and visceral combination of punk energy and drama, comedy and art... The music mixes glitchy ambient electronics, spidery post rock guitar, dissonant jazzy passages, semi-Birthday Party tongue in cheek horror, contemporary opera, and at one point, a chorus of belches. There is a sense of camp drama about many of the tracks that brings to mind some of the more ambitious 70's prog albums. But this album is brimming with gritty power, a punk menace...

Avril Simister, RoomThirteen, 12 out of 13, 9/9/9. "Long Live..." is an intellectual piece, musically and due to its subject matter. But it's also bizarre and freakish, classically grotesque and downright silly at times. Like a Roald Dahl book come to life: full of monsters and hideously unpleasant characters. All set off to a dynamic, winding soundtrack which veers off on its own and back seemingly of its own accord.

J. Eric Smith, Albany Times Union, 9/18/9.
The political spectrum is a horseshoe, where extreme left-wing behavior and extreme right-wing behavior manifest in essentially the same ways, indistinguishable from each other to the victims suffering under them. Perhaps art and culture are similar: the most extremely high-brow art and the most extremely low-brow art may well be indistinguishable from each other. I suspect that Pere Ubu's members intuit that, and have thereby found the sweet spot where those distinctions become meaningless. It's a jaw-dropping spot to sit, watch and listen... There's a look, a sound, and a feel to Pere Ubu's works that's impossible to match, and I'm glad that with all the new elements they've added to their already impressive palette, that they didn't drop or alter those core concepts and conceits. "Long Live Pere Ubu!" is one of the most audacious pieces of new music that I've heard in ages.

CutureCrammer, 8/25/09.
Along with the signature electronic dissonance and stabbing, post-punk guitar, there's a touch of the gallows theatricality of The Birthday Party and the dust bowl holler of Tom Waits at his scratchiest. Most of all though, Ubu! resounds with the influence of Captain Beefheart circa Doc at the Radar Station or Ice Cream for Crow. As a bold experiment in fusing spoken word with post-rock, post-punk and ambient electronica, "Long Live Père Ubu!" is an unqualified success... it's trippy, twisted genius.

Simon Harper, Bearded Magazine, 9/7/9
Lurching and angular, as well as being creepily fascinating, this latest studio album is refreshingly ambitious. There's a slow-building feel which matches the arduous methods used by Thomas and co, as crashing rhythms and jerky guitars alternate on the album opener, while time changes are negotiated like an F1 driver taking a hairpin bend at breakneck speed. One of the most interesting aspects of the record is the twisted narrative which is woven throughout. The addition of Sarah Jane Morris' vocal - particularly on centre-piece "Bring Me The Head" - brings an extra dimension to the storytelling dynamic of this hugely intriguing record. With such a dazzlingly inventive and idiosyncratic streak - witness the recurring sombrero image - you begin to wish more bands dabbled in such creative flourishes.

Joe Shooman, Record Collector, October 2009. Four Stars.
Long Live is odd and scary... As the narrative unfolds, so do the atmosphere and sonics, thrown into a white-hot crucible of pretentiously brilliant creativity.

Mick Houghton, Uncut October 2009. Three Stars.
Jarry explored the notion of a "horrible beauty" - conveyed amply here by dark humour and discordant music, reminiscent of Beefheart or Zappa's early sound collage, Lumpy Gravy.

Charlie Frame, Clash, October 2009. 8/10.
David Thomas inhabits the role of King Ubu brilliantly.

Nathaniel Cramp, NME, Sep 12 2009
It's absolutely bonkers.

Nick Toczek, Rock n Reel, Sept/Oct 2009
Wonderful. Inspired. Crazed. Theatrical. Uneasy listening. It's an utterly unhinged rock opera.

The Independent, 9/11/09
His (Thomas') adaptation and performance reflect his obvious relish in embodying all that is venal, corrupt and selfish about arriviste politicians, amusingly embodied in a running joke about his desire to "wear the big sombrero."

Malcolm Dome, Classic Rock, October 2009
This is a spikey, eccentric record that at times whispers so quietly that you're forced to listen carefully... One of Pere Ubu's most creative anti-artistic statements.

John Sobel, blogcritics.org, 9/22/9.
But Pere Ubu's unique sonic sensibility might just inspire you to look at the world in a slightly different way, finding color, as they do, in infinite shades of grey.
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