Release Date: Mar 18, 2016
Record label: Fire Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Tackling a four-disc box set of a band like Pere Ubu is always going to be a bit of a chaotic affair. Gathering up three studio albums from 79-82, David Thomas and co spin a triptych of ‘avant garage’ over an album (almost) a year - 79’s New Picnic Time, 80’s The Art Of Walking, and 1982’s Song of the Bailing Man, plus an extra disc of rare tracks and assorted live stuff. Now, when you enter the world of Pere Ubu, you’ve to be warned.
Four-CD box set featuring remasters of Ubu’s third, fourth and fifth plus extras. Having released two albums, The Modern Dance and Dub Housing, in 1978, which have gone on to achieve immortal status in post-punk history (despite Ubu being pre-punk), Pere Ubu were at the top of their game in 1979, the height of their unique powers. .
Architecture of Language 1979 - 1982 is the second in a series of box sets planned by Fire Records that should see the whole of Pere Ubu’s collected works made available again. This project is one of the most valuable sonic excavations currently being made by any record label. Pere Ubu is a collective comprised of many members over time, a band of many faces and as many moods yet singular in its commitment to pursuing an independent artistic vision.
Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas recently told PopMatters: “Punk doesn’t mean anything… Pere Ubu and Rocket, we were rock bands working in the mainstream. ” He’s entitled to his derisory attitude, of course, for both his bands – the recently-resurrected Rocket From The Tombs and art-rock giants Pere Ubu – never remotely resembled punks, yet they still irrevocably moved the goalposts prior to, during, and immediately after that heavily-documented period of sonic upheaval circa 1976-77. The first of Fire’s ongoing series of career-spanning, multi-disc Ubu anthologies, last year’s Elitism For The People 1975-1978 rounded up everything of relevance the Cleveland, Ohio quintet recorded during those essential early years.
Like many bands during the 70s, Pere Ubu arrived out of a novel palette of influences, non-musical as much as musical. As a group they sound just as interested in scatty, disordered sounding improvisation in jazz as much as were the bizarre ideas behind the creation of certain modernist literature. Points of reference include Miles Davis; playwright Alfred Jarry (their name is a direct reference to central character of the same name); "typical high-school stuff", as their singer David Thomas puts it, like Terry Riley's In C.