Previously known only to cognoscenti through an obscure self-released three-track 7”, this is the first publication of the complete album, an outrageous confection that mixes art-song and theatrical monologue with live electronics. Starting life as a performance art piece described by the artists as ‘Western Performance Noir’, the record centres on a series of texts written by Friedman and Hanlon in which female narrators comically embody a series of iconic roles (The Recording Artist, The Former Movie Star, and The Rancher). Other lyrical themes include recurring references to the notorious cannibal pioneers, the Donner Party, an ironic take on Japanophilia, and the luscious “Archetypal Unitized Seminar,” a satirical poke at self-help culture, whose lyrics are rendered in Indian raga style to the accompaniment of electronic glissandi and toy noisemakers. Delivered by Friedman, Hanlon, Klingensmith and special guest Maggi Payne in forms ranging from spoken monologue to Country & Western waltz, the texts are accompanied by instrumental and electronic contributions by Behrman and DeMarinis.
Musically, She’s More Wild is truly unique, demonstrating these two pioneers of live-electronic performance adapting their signature processes to something approaching a ‘pop’ format: we hear the gliding, frequency-sensitive electronics familiar from Behrman’s classic On the Other Ocean and the mutant hacked Speak n’ Spell heard on DeMarinis’ Songs Without Throats propelled by drum machines and twisted into song forms. Perhaps comparable only to the David Rosenboom and Jacqueline Humbert’s contemporaneous Daytime Viewing in its interweaving of performance art tactics, high-tech electronics and pop sensibilities, She’s More Wild is an essential document, both immediately gratifying and ultimately thought provoking.