Blue Man Group

Virgin Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry


If you've never heard of the Blue Man Group, then the rock under which you're currently residing probably doesn't get cable. They've been on countless TV programs, with their brand of midriff-free, uh, world music. Which world? Good question… They appear to be six gentlemen who daub blue paint all over themselves and play a disjointed, angular, un-predictable brand of pop. Very intensely. A bit like Tangerine Dream with 180 drummers.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Blue Man Group utilize the usual guitar/bass/drums/keyboards rock instrumentation (there aren't any vocals), along with a myriad of other, bizarre, home-made looking gadgets, all of which are fashioned out of PVC (plastic piping used nowadays for your plumbing system). Ever heard of these implements? Air poles (which is like a giant rain-stick) the 'pvc instrument' (which is a percussive device played in a similar fashion as one would address the vibrophone), and appears to require at least three people to properly utilize it. A tubulum, which is again, percussive, and resembles long plastic organ chimes laid out horizontally. A smaller tubulum resting on a back-pack, the cimbalom, which also resembles the vibes, and is played by three freaks, the "big drum," which is just a giant bass-drum, the drum wall, which is a flank of three percussionists, playing actual trap-sets, a zither, a dumpster (I'm serious), a chapman stick, the timpani, a "pressaphonic," (huh?), a "piano smasher," a ribbon crasher, cabasa, shakers, doppler drums, djembe, shaker gong, a gyro shot, gary strips, shekere, utne drums, sword, wiper, and angel air poles, baritone guitar, the mini snare, lap steel, shaker gong, cuica, a "crasher," a toy drum kit, an alto drum kit, an electric dog toy, quellium, aronophonic, doppler toms, upside-down bass, 12-string guitar, extension cord bull roar, and a tremelo bass.

Phew! All that comes together to make an instrumental whirlpool of sounds that are only recognizable after you've read the lengthy CD-booklet attached. Great album though. Only similar in my mind to maybe one of John Zorn's more-unhinged-than-usual projects. At their most tame, the Blue Man Group remind me a tiny bit of Tangerine Dream. A compliment coming from this guy.

Rating: A-

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