End Of Greatness

Kowtow Popof

Wampus, 2006

http://www.wampus.com/artists/kowtow/index.html

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/02/2007

Why does listening to this CD make me crave designer coffee?  I can’t even tolerate the regular stuff.

For whatever reason, this collection of post-modern high-concept power-folk electro-pop (yeah I said it) makes me want to sit on a bricked sidewalk somewhere attempting to think deep thoughts.  Or grow a neat little grey-flecked goatee, don wire-rimmed glasses and quote Nietzsche, whose name should really be easier to spell, considering how often he’s gratuitously inserted into paragraphs like this one.

Poor Kowtow Popof, he was hoping for a review and all he got was the equivalent of an early 70s Yes lyric – sonorous, potentially insightful, yet undeniably incoherent.  But that’s what this stuff does to me; it’s intoxicating enough in its strangeness that it should almost certainly come with a warning label of some kind.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

End Of Greatness is out there, almost literally.  One-man band Popof layers tasty melodic-rock electric and acoustic guitars over electronic beats, with atmospheric synth washes lurking around many a corner.  That techno-organic musical dichotomy is in and of itself enough to make this disc unique; when you throw in the inscrutable existentialist sci-fi word-puzzles that pass for lyrics here, you step into a fresh new universe of post-modernist art-pop.  There are cuts here called “Things That Aren’t Comets” and “Slim Jims & Tab”; the DVD of this album would be hosted by Pee-Wee Herman wearing one of those Day The Earth Stood Still retro space-alien helmets.

So, asks Patient Reader, who is really earning the title today, what does Mr. Popof’s music sound like?  Start with a sturdy foundation of Ziggy-era Bowie, add some Warren Zevon for tartness and character detail, throw in a little Beck for modernist electro-folk arrangements, and drop a tab of acid into your flat-panel’s grill while the cable box is stuck on TV Land.  I’m telling you, Battlestar Galactica never seemed this profound before.

Hallucinogens would certainly aid anyone in understanding the deeper meaning of the arcane “Amazing Tales,” which paints impressionist visions of other worlds before suffering a nervous breakdown three-fourths of the way in and doing a slow fade into the spacy electro-funk of “Gone 4 Good.”  The soaring, pulsing, Floydian “Exalted Headband” and gentle, airy counterpoint “Empty Orchestra” are also notables, all the more evocative for their lack of words.

Those reluctant to indulge in either non-linear thought or Lost In Space marathons, not to mention tongue-in-cheek postmodern humor, may find all this a bit confounding.  It’s just as well, since Kowtow’s universe is not really accessible to those of limited imaginatory scope.  And yes, I just made up the word “imaginatory.”  Those sorts of things have a way of happening when under the influence of a disc like End Of Greatness.  I’ll pass on the coffee, but I do seem to have the munchies now…

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2007 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wampus, and is used for informational purposes only.