Rachel Bazooka – Colorbl nd [XiV Media, 2009]

Rachel Bazooka - Color blndBucks Burnett, aka Big Bucks, is a man for his place and time. His place is Dallas, Texas and his time is as long as anyone can remember.

A friend once whispered to me that Bucks is the avatar of Joyism, In another lifetime, he produced and created Edstock, the Mr. Ed music festival sponsored by the Tiny Tim Fan Club, held at the Bronco Bowl.

His personality is about what you’d expect from a Joyist avatar who brought Tiny Tim to Dallas in the name of a talking horse. Bucks, like early Fourierist immigrants who looked at Dallas and saw a secret utopian door waiting for the right people to open it, was a keeper of the local Mysteries. I finally met him when he opened a record store on Lower Greenville Avenue, 14 Records, back when such things were possible. 14? That was his magic lucky number. I had been reading about the Andalusian Sufi, Ibn Arabi, and how 14 was his magic number, too. Bucks was delighted. Then he told me that he couldn’t sell two of the records I wanted to buy. “This is a store, sure, but it’s also a museum. I put the exhibit records out with the other records so that customers will have the happy surprise of discovering them in a natural setting.” Something like that. Another time, I brought one of the world’s most mysterious books at 14, The Boxler Letters, ostensibly correspondence received by Mr. Bucks under odd circumstances,relating the story of the Boxler Family, who never left their house and lived sustainably on fish from their aquarium. The book, which maddened me with its assertion that bubbles go into another dimension when they pop, disappeared from my collection. I have never been able to replace it and Bucks gets vague when I mention it.

So it was with expectation of amazement that I listened to the audacious double-CD debut by Rachel Bazooka, a group comprised of Hubertus Winnubst, Bucks Burnett and “20 of the best musicians from Dallas and Denton.” Their album, Colorbl nd, features “The Dallas Sound (the first CD of its kind in the history of something),” which seems perfectly apt. Just as the KLF evoked a night-time journey across the width of Texas on Chill Out, Rachel Bazooka teases its pop-folky wonder from Big D, even, or perhaps more particularly, its La Reunion utopian/psychogeographical sub-layers.

There is much to marvel at here, from the “full color foldout” and booklet comprised of various solid pastel panels to the discs which are also solid pastel, devoid of information. So goes Colorbl nd, the gift of a beating heart wrapped in a cosmic joke with a rainbow for a ribbon. Vocals fall into that realm of outsider beauty populated by singers like Dogbowl, Neil Young, Wayne Coin and Daniel Johnston. Here the enchanted listener will find pop-folkish turns of rarefied cosmology, raw melancholy, the trials of errant love and plaintive ghosts in the desert. Singing fireflies and strange signs populate the album’s mystical landscape and hint at an underlying humility experienced when the magic of life, beauty and love open up. Colorbl nd unfolds like an affirmation of unbridled energy (Joyism?) transmuted from tragedy and loss. The daring length of the album is fully justified by the remarkable journey it offers listeners, a synaesthesia of magical colorsounds. This may be the best Dallas band since the Dooms UK.

Take the time to listen to the entire album, maybe at twilight when light and darkness hang in balance, maybe around a campfire with a few contemplative friends. Don’t background it. Listen closely. It will tell you a secret story.

As for Buck Burnett, he’s following a dream these day, working tirelessly to establish a museum of 8-Track tape and technology.

Steve Aydt

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