True Tunes News Winter 1998
Review of original Neverhood Songs CD
by Mark Ludena
In the beginning, Hoborg slapped a bunch of clay together that eventually became a PC game. No... wait. Before that, there were some paintings, an idea and Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Interactive, (But it seems to me that even before that, there was E.T.) Ah, allegory can get convoluted sometimes. Anyway, the game was silent and without songs, and the fingers of Terry Taylor moved over the frets of his guitar, and there was music. And it was good.
"The Neverhood" is a claymation PC game by DreamWorks Interactivc that puts you in the role of Klaymen, an innocent who must embark on a journey of self discovery while discovering the mysteries og his world well. Willie Trombone provides assistance in the form of letters containing clues and the occasional data tape that tells, when inserted into one of several conveniently located video players, a story familiar to some. It is the story of Hoborg who, after creating the Neverhood, creates a companion, Klogg, who soon turns on him and tries to take Hoborg's crown. Hoborg then begins to create another being... (You will have to remain in suspense along with me, however, as I haven't found all the tapes and don't know the end of the story. But I suspect I could guess.)
As Klaymen, you must choose between right and wrong and solve the puzzles along the way to eventually discover the object of the game, and to right the wrongs that Klogg has visited upon the Neverhood. Underneath all that clay lies the soundtrack by Terry Taylor.
Necause the game is so different from any video game out there, the creators sought out a soundtrack far removed from the current trends toward techno and heavy metal seeming to populate most video games. (True, a step above the Casiotone soundtracks of Mario Bros. and Pac-Man, but only a bit). Doug TenNapel, whose paintings served as the original inspiratio for the game, happened to be a "big fan of Terry's" (as all you buys and girls should be), and he brought Terry onto the project, asking him to create songs that sounded like clay.
While the songs do an excellent job of complementing this most bizarre and whimsical game, they tend to fade in and out before one really gets a chance to listen. The soundtrack CD solves this problem by giving you complete versions of all the songs - 22 in all - plus bonus "radio" tracks. Am added bonus is that the CD comes with a more-or-less-complete set of lyrics. This is no mean feat, as Terry himself claims vast portions of the lyrics to be gibbensh he could only just barely decipher for the liner notes. In my humble opinion, I would disagree with Terry. I believe some wisdom can be found in the lyrics, as evidenced by "Potatoes, Tomatoes, Gravy, and Peas":
My Gravy Love
My Gravy Love
Tomatees, and potatees and my peas
I put 'em in my hat
And I eat 'em just like that
I put 'em in my ears and in my shoes
I put 'em in my pants
And I do a little dance
This always seems to take away my blues
The music sounds like a caricature of roots music, cast in clay. Don't expect a DA album here, or even a Swirling Eddies one. Do expect to find a silly grin creeping onto your face, your toes tapping; perhaps even your pelvis will begin to gyrate. And expect to find your co-workers glancing nervously in the direction of your cubicle, wondering why you are having such a good time.
If a man can indeed be an island, then Terry exists within an archipelago, as evidenced by the friends who continue to aid him with his many projects.
This is no exception, Among others, fellow Lost Dog Gene Eugene (bass, keyboards, wahwah, percussion) and long-time DA coconspirator Ed McTaggart (drums) join Terry on this album. The CD is a must for any Terry Taylor completist and is a great soundtrack for any Klaymen's life (it sure made my trip home from Cornerstone more fun). For more information, visit the Neverhood website at www.neverhood.com.
Sanctified Press (http://www.sanctifiedpress.com)
by Danny Thweatt
Remember in "A Clockwork Orange" where they attempted to curb Malcolm McDowell's violent tendencies by clamping his eyes open and forcing him to watch scenes of violence on film over and over?
"IMAGINARIUM" evokes scenes of a similar experiment in my mind.....
Imagine if you will a top-secret government experiment, wherein Terry Scott Taylor is forced to ingest large amounts of psylicibin mushrooms. He is then tied to a chair and has his eyes clamped open like the aforementioned character in Kubrick's "Clockwork".
Terry is deprived sleep and forced to watch weeks worth of early 70's era Saturday morning cartoons, while simultaneously being forced to listen to the entire Leon Redbone catalog; over, and over, and over.......
When this portion of the experiment is over, he is quickly shuffled off to his favorite recording studio, where while watching 20 or so 7 year olds sitting mesmerized in front tv's playing video games, he is allowed to create whatever music and sounds that pop into his head.
Several days later he emerges from the studio with "IMAGINARIUM"......
The preceding surreal scene I described may have been fictitious, but listening to these discs gives you the impression that just such a thing may have actually occurred.
This stuff is out there! And more fun than a barrel of monkeys. I mean, where else can you find a recording of the all-time children's classic "Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit"?
Created originally as soundtracks for the video games "Neverhood" and "Boombots and Skullmonkeys" (if I remember correctly), these discs are more than just fun, they stand on their own as a testament to the studio wizardry and experimental genius of Terry Scott Taylor.
Terry has always created music that defies categorization and flaunts convention, and these discs are no exception.
Pop them in the player and have a blast.
SONGS: Disc 1: 39 Disc 2: 31
RUNNING TIME: Disc 1: 57:44 Disc 2: 61:11
by Jason Hoffman
If you are one who thinks John Denver is the peak of musical creativity, read no further. For the rest of us, what you are about to read will boggle your mind and challenge your sense of reality, but I swear on a stack of sausages that it is true. A few years back I reviewed an album called The Neverhood, an award winning collection of songs from the PC game by the same name. That was no ordinary video game music. It sounded like clay, malleable dixieland blue grass on steroids. This album sold out rather quickly and now goes for over $50 on eBay. The creative brain that brewed this concoction also created music for two subsequent games, Skullmonkeys and BoomBots. Now, for the first time since the birth of Jerry Springer, the music from all three of these games is available on two jam-packed discs for a mere $20 at www.danielamos.com. My earlier review of The Neverhood is available on whatzup's extensive CD review web page so I'll not repeat it except to say that these psychedelic blues songs will soon have you singing along with "Homina Homina!"
The second CD of the set contains 26 Skullmonkey songs and five from Boombots. Taking the "monkey" theme into another dimension, many of these almost instrumentals have a strong jungle beat. But variety is key here. Out of the 26 songs, you get almost 26 different styles of music. Yessum, everything from alpine accordions in 3/4 time with yodeling to wigged out chipmunks to theremins to belly dancing shuffles to spastic ragtime to ... well, you get the idea.
Lyrically, this album is much like the first with many nonsense non-sequitur ramblings and few actual "lyrics," though after a few listens, you'll know every grunt and incoherent utterance. "Elevated Structure of Terror" drove my brother Joel to literal tears with its mumbled, drunken lyrics amid Tim Chandler's amazingly inventive bass playing. And then there's "Psychedelic Boogie Child," the 70s disco song full of wahwah pedals, shag carpeting and lava lamps. Speaking of bonus levels, the amazing bonus level song, imaginatively titled "Lil' Bonus Room," finds Uncle Terry urging the purchase of multiple games because "I get residuals for every game that's sold."
Both CDs are headlong hurtles into reckless fun. In addition to their old man, both of my boys love these songs. No one is immune from the infectious insanity that, like a good Bugs Bunny cartoon, contains enough ear candy for kids and yet has jokes only adults will get.
Reviews provided thanks to the writers, magazines and newspapers listed as well as fans that have helped us collect them - Richard Towry