MUSHROOM VS. BUNDY K. BROWN VS. FAUST VS. GARY FLOYD Compared To What (Clearspot)
Not the former Massive Attack member: this Mushroom are a four-year old experimental San Francisco band who have worked with the altered minds of Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen. "Compared To What" derives its elongated credit from the fact that it substantially consists of remixes of material that will appear on their next album, "Foxy Music".
Which probably makes them sound somewhat dry and beardstrokey - not an inaccurate first impression, as it happens: a lot of "Compared To What" sounds like Tortoise (from whose ranks collaborator Bundy K. Brown was hatched) locked in a studio with a really kicking brass section, the album documenting their tentative attempts to make a joyful noise together. But it opens with something from another stratosphere altogether: the title track is a cover of Les McCann & Eddie Harris' 1969 US hit (no, me neither) vocalised by Sister Double Happiness frontman Gary Floyd, and it is truly fantastic - dive-bombing trombone riffs, a hot-trotting rhythm section and all manner of electronic squeaks and squiggles, over which Floyd sermonises about the evils of the wasteland that is post-flower power America like James Brown gone post-rock. Its one of the most astonishing sounds I've heard all year, and if you connect with it you too will be bathed in a beatific, Ready Brek-style glow that will cause the ensuing hour of telephone conversations, backwards tapes and songs called stuff like "Americans Own The Moon, They Bought It From The Germans - Who Won It During A Poker Game In World War II 1969 Chicago Democratic Convention Remix" to fly past. Something strange and potentially wonderful is going on here.