**Original 1989 copies of this obscure classic, few copies in stock** Organized around LAFMS associate James Grigsby, also founding member of the California Outside Music Association (abbreviated COMA) Motor Totemist Guild was formed in Los Angeles in 1980 together with poet/singer Christine Clements. Throughout the 1970’s Grigsby had been involved with the study and performance of electronic music, Renaissance polyphony, progressive rock, post-Webern serialism, Balinese gamelan and punk-jazz. Clements was active in the San Francisco poetry scene.
In 1984, after a move to Los Angeles, they released their first project, Infra Dig, the inaugural LP release on Grigsby’s private label, Rotary Totem Records. Augmented by a large group of musical guests, featuring Brad Laner (ex Savage Republic) among the other, the album, along with weird songs, free play confusion, chamber prog, electronic, modern classic and complex improvisations ( not far from Henry Cow orthe Art Bears) is centered around the endless collage-suite "Omaggio a Futi". It is complex piece with various sounds and noises, various vocal interludes, choir singing, scraps of speech, tape games, short text recitations, electronic sounds, angular solos on flute, cello and piano and short excerpts from performances by the USC Contempory Chamber Ensemble and two gamelan ensembles from Cambodia and Laos
"... a proven mastermind ... Grigsby’s music while demanding and complex is also liable to become light-hearted or whimsical...Grigsby’s shrewd and at times roguish compositional style is strikingly impressive; hence, his somewhat legendary status in the so-called progressive music industry."
Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz
"It is always very good to cross borders and create misunderstanding in music."
"Crash. Crash, crash. Three more crashes. A low, moaning flute sound. More crashes, and an electronic squeal. A splatter of electric chamber music, rife with tone clusters. Dense, chromatic figuration for piano and winds. Hints of Ligeti, "L'Homme Arme," rapid scalar motion, and -- what's that -- tonality? Yes, it is. Sort of. This is the opening of U Totem's "One Nail Draws Another," a composition by James Grigsby and one of the great compositions in the history of experimental rock. In a mere fifteen minutes, it's practically a microcosm of Western music, from High Renaissance polyphony and contemporary chamber music to Broadway and rock music. Melodic, consonant vocal sections are offset by blasts of heavy, dissonant instrumental chamber rock. The music is never the same for more than a minute, and yet it holds together perfectly."
Alex Temple, Progweed
“...like an interactive soundtrack & a musical puzzle... (Grigsby’s) the Brian Eno of the South Bay - quietly constructing astonishing word/sound collages while the rest of us chatter away.”
Bondo Wyszpolski, Easy Reader
"The music is completely undefinable, majestic, complex, emotional & experimental at the same time...a challenging album that expands the boundaries of contemporary music & avant garde, & still remains a real feast to enjoy in all its twists & turns."
"...magnificent musical moments... giddy conceptual camp... cosmopolitan rainbow of influences (Stockhausen, The Residents, Bartok, Harry Partch...??) ...should interest anyone who values civilized experimental music"
Marina La Palma, High Performance