Live at Club Donut

Ed Pinsent

Sound Projector, Jan 2005

Thanks to Jim Donnelly for scanning this review

Here's a killer of a live solo recording by American freak-guitarist Lobdell. One's always been somewhat in awe, not to say slightly terrified, by the uncanny studio recordings by this musician, a guy who is genuinely unhinged (he used to hear voices in his head). His studio work, including that for Faust. may be enhanced by overdubs, so how would he fare in a live solo context, one man, one amplifier, and lots of pedals!

Answer ten times as scary. This performance only takes a few minutes of warming up before, WHOOSH! It lifts off and soars away into the stratosphere. He picks out a vaguely menacing Flamenco-style sketch to get going, then the phase and wah-wah pedals kick in and suddenly everything goes nuts. Brilliant explosions of controlled noise erupt, skilful guitar licks (hammering-on, sliding) produce locked-in-spastic mode events, causing cosmic mayhem. The amped-up loud volumes work in his favour he controls the energy like a puppet-master, totally in control of the noise he's blasting forth.

The sense of chaos you hear, then, comes not from the music itself, but rather from Lobdell's inner chaos, his mental turmoil, translating almost directly into feral, twisted, tremendous guitar music. Once underway, the energy flow doesn't stop... he's just the hairy wild-eyed loon who keeps on giving! Soon, he's got two riffs going in tandem together - one riff speaks to the other, one riff answers back, much like the voices inside his brain carrying on a dialogue. Sheer, manic energy pours out of him like greased-up ectoplasm. The B-side hears him picking out distorted melodies against the accompaniment of a strong low-end amplifier hum, while the delay pedal sets up mocking ghosts of each of his phases. An alien-drenched atmosphere emanates from his presence, and floats off the vinyl into your ears.

Recorded live in a tiny donut shop in Portland Oregon (so small it's actually situated in a loft above the toilet), this record comes highly recommended as an excessive, mighty cosmic guitar workout, might almost be the sound of a man jamming with his own split personality. Astonishing. Pressed in limited quantities if you missed this, urge Holy Mountain to reissue it on CD immediately.

Ed Pinsent, "Live at Club Donut", Sound Projector 2005

ref: Sound Projector