Album And now, for the Year 2008: Dan Deacon & Jimmy Joe Roche’s Ultimate Reality
posted by January 17 at 10:56 AMon
DAN DEACON AND JIMMY JOE ROCHE
Ultimate Reality (DVD)
Dan Deacon and Jimmy Joe Roche’s new multimedia workout, Ultimate Reality, is something of an endurance test. Just how much slow-mo, stroboscopic, mirror-image, split-screen, digitally psychedelicized Arnold Schwarzenegger can you take? Forty minutes? How about if they throw in some synth drones, ring modulator freak-outs, and tribal-by-way-of–Wham City drumming?
The DVD jacks footage from the Governator’s films, editing them into a loose narrative that conflates his more macho roles (the Terminator, Conan) with those less so (Kindergarten Cop, Junior), in the hope of establishing a “dominant pansexual ubermyth.” Two sets of scrolling intertitles confuse plot points from various films (even non-Schwarzenegger joint Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) to create a story—involving time traveling, robots, a “man-womb,” Bill and Ted’s history report—for all the unintelligible visual chaos.
There are roughly five musical movements. The first is a slow warm-up, all droning toy keyboards and acoustic drums. The second adds a slow chord progression, slide whistles, and snatches of gibberish chatter. The third adds a playful xylophone melody and turns the chatter into a rhythmic element. The fourth begins with cheap, plastic synth funk, fluttering arpeggios, and a lazy backbeat before erupting into swirling modulation and swaggering saw waves. Finally, there’s an endlessly peaking 16th-note synth-and-drum buildup.
The bonus material includes a made-in-the-mall green-screen music video for Deacon’s “The Crystal Cat” and an outtake of a crepe paper–covered Deacon playing keyboard and singing in some bedroom in front of a “Kill ‘Em All” flag while Roche dances around behind him in a magenta bodysuit and sunglasses.
The debt owed by Deacon and Roche to Paper Rad and TV Carnage is, at times, irksome—especially because Ultimate Reality seems like the C-student, class-clown imitation of those artists’ crackpot-genius culture jacking, more ironic gesture than innovative substance. This DVD will be a treat for Deacon’s dollar-store acolytes, but it’s ultimately a novelty, good for a couple viewings and visual background noise but not much else.
(Dan Deacon’s Ultimate Reality Tour Hits Neumo’s on Sunday, Jan 20th)