CD, The Eastern Front, 2008
Listening to the latest release coming from the Israeli label The Eastern Front may require a particular mind-setting as well as a general liking for whimsical music compositions and sound-art. If anything, the album’s artwork does provide plenty of indication on what is in store for the listener – a collage of artwork by famous avant-garde artists from the early 20th century.
One gets the feeling that this Israeli artist tried to condense his unique vision of avant-garde art and bring concepts from Dada and other historical artistic movements into an experimental hybrid of industrial and cabaret music. An ambitious goal without a doubt and one that was overall achieved in this “Collection Of Agnostic Flies”. From a tense and emotional beginning, follows an ebb and flow to Middle Eastern ethnic elements interspaced with historically-charged pieces, drifting to sampled aural landscapes and strange sound collages bordering on pure music concrete – the whole permeated by an intense decadent cabaret atmosphere, harking back to Berlin in the days of the Weimar Republic. In short, a seemingly chaotic mosaic which is, nevertheless, rather ordered and should initially be approached as a whole, only afterwards focusing on the individual units that comprise it and which, in the case of this particular release, are themselves collages.
The seemingly humorous “Collection Of Agnostic Flies” is rather well achieved though, perhaps, some aspects could have been further developed. In particular, tracks such as “We Are The Dots”, “White Power” might have been developed beyond their seeming fleeting duration into longer pieces to further their impact on the listener (especially the later due to its historical referencing). A curious element which caught my attention is the inclusion of an (uncredited) cover of “Who Are The Brain Police?” by Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention – an interesting rendering which nevertheless could benefit from making the vocal aspect more proeminent.
Despite its nature as a collage album and a couple of more pieces that the average listener may find more difficult or abrasive to get into, “Collection Of Agnistic Flies” is a rather easy album to get into and quite rewarding as well. Broad-minded listeners with a taste for a whimsical (though befittingly dark) humour in their music will find this right up their alley.
— Miguel de Sousa