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Man or Astro-man?



The ultimate in nerd rock, Man Or Astro-man? is an intergalactic surf band from outer space by way of Auburn, Alabama. If you don't think they're nerdy, consider this: how many other bands name their albums after supercomputers or construct their own theremins? Not to mention the whole issue with space suits...

Man or Astro-man? has been shredding the ears and wearing out the dancing shoes of interstellar surf rock fans for almost ten years now, and they show no signs of slowing down. From their early releases on Estrus Records (including Is it...Man or Astro-man?, Destroy All Astro-men, and Project Infinity), to their latest output on Touch and Go Records (A Specturm of Infinite Scale), Man Or Astro-man? has always mixed traditional instrumental surf with experimental electronics, clever samples, and a healthy dose of good humor. What other band would create a clone project, in which the band's roadies go out on tour in place of the actual band members? Or have a press kit composed entirely of articles from foreign newpapers? Or bring a giant Tesla coil on stage at the end of every show to demonstrate the awesome power of electricity? Or name a song "Uranus is a Planet"? Indeed, Man Or Astro-man? are conducting a bizarre and wonderful experiment in sound. If only all scientific experiments and extraterrestrial visitors could rock so hard.

"Domain of the Human Race" is from the EEVIAC album, which was recorded in Belo Horizonte, Brazil after Man or Astro-man's December, 1998 tour. EEVIAC is even more experimental than previous efforts, featuring more use of tape editing, electronic loops, and guitar improvisations. Drummer Birdstuff has said, "I must say this, anyone who says we're getting techno, new wavey is way off the mark, not to mention that they will unexpectedly die soon after they say such a thing." So consider yourself warned.

"Curious Constructs" (full title: "Curious Constructs of Stem-Like Devices Which Now Prepare Themselves to Be Thought of as Fingers") is from Man or Astro-man's 2000 album A Spectrum of Infinite Scale on Touch and Go. This is perhaps their most lovingly crafted release, recorded and mixed at four different locations throughout the Astro-Universe (the band's own Zero Return studios in Alabama, a mobile facility in Reykjavik, Iceland, Chase Park Studio in Athens, Georgia, and Steve Albini's Electrical Audio in Chicago). The luxury of time allowed the Astromen to make an album that captures their sound better than any of their previous releases. These songs bend and stretch, incorporating everything from loose hip hop breaks to complex, bending Polvo-esque guitar lines to screechy dot matrix printer noises. If the typical Man or Astro-man? album consists of space age surf music, A Spectrum of Infinite Scale is the soundtrack for drinking vodka under a pier. It's darkly humorous, delightfully convoluted, and utterly hypnotic.