ERIC ALEXANDRAKIS I.V. Catatonia (Y & T Music)
Eric Alexandrakis is a Florida resident whose music has already garnered the attention of ex-Duran Duran bassist John Taylor. "I.V. Catatonia" charts his treatment for and recovery from Hodgkin's disease, meticulously pieced together "Tubular Bells"-style at home between cancer treatments on a borrowed four-track. Alexandrakis wrote, arranged, produced, engineered and played all of the album's 22 tracks himself, creating a whirlpool of song, sound and effects that suggests a dizzying, ever-contextualizing grasp of sonics and a restless imagination working overtime.
"The Big Crunch Theory" weaves the sounds of answering machine messages, insects, construction sites, a baby's cries, motorbikes and fragments of grotesquely uprooted music, amongst hundreds of other found representations of real life, into a patchwork whole of a density unheard since The Beatles' "Revolution 9". "Selenium, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, B-12, Vitamin C, Cat's Claw And Multi-Vitamin & Mineral Supplement" turns out to be a loop of Alexandrakis' mother advising "Take your vitamins please", the kind of tape experimentation that has antecedents in the 60s work of Steve Reich. "Hooligan Hotline (You Walk Away)" is gorgeous, melodic, electric guitar clatter that peak-period Guided By Voices would be proud to call their own, whilst "Fin" aptly documents his final treatment session.
If "I.V. Catatonia" can be faulted it's only in that the sheer range of styles condensed into its still-considerable 70 minute duration can leave the listener feeling giddy. And although credit is undoubtedly due for what Alexandrakis has wrung out of primitive four-track technology (alright, you could argue that The Beatles only needed eight tracks to create "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", but they didn't record it at home) this CD is hardly blessed with the crispest production you'll hear this year. Nevertheless, Eric Alexandrakis is an embarrassingly talented musician, and, with his condition now in remission, will hopefully be able to expand on this homemade box of twisted, distorted delights.