Half Mute / Scream With a View

Half Mute / Scream With a View

It's telling that Tuxedomoon were among the first few outside artists signed to Ralph Records, the label of ultimate iconoclasts The Residents. Like that band, Tuxedomoon assembled an utterly original sound from disparate bits and pieces, creating something strikingly unprecedented. The first Tuxedomoon album, 1980's Half Mute (packaged here with the early EP Scream With a View), bears trace elements of jazz, sound collage, chamber music, electro-acoustic minimalism, funk, film music, avant-garde experimentalism, and more, all filtered through the postpunk sensibility that dominated the scene from which they emerged. From the deadpan punk-funk misanthropy of "59 to 1" to the lonely saxophone of "Km" and the tension-filled violin lines leading the way on the uneasy instrumental "Volo Vivace," the trio create a sound that's eerie, artful, angular, and elegant all at once. The lyrical outlook shifts from dreamlike surrealism to abject existentialism, but the band's mercurial muse never forsakes them.

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