Where would director Chuck Jones’s scwewy wabbit and puddy-tat be without the merry melodies of Carl Stalling and, especially, the splats, screeches, and collisions of FX wizard and unsung hero Treg Brown? (Ta-da!) Brown punctuated and complemented the mayhem of Warner Brothers’ humanized animals and animalized humans. On Rhino Records’ new Crash! Bang! Boom!, Brown’s accompaniment adds up to a dizzying array of noises—98 cuts flying by (vroooom!) in 43 minutes.
With slapstick antics up front and sly nods and asides missing, Crash! Bang! Boom! is geared to the little ones—the Looney Tunes characters star as misguided guides for a riot of racket. While Rhino also intended the CD as phone-message fodder and unsound sounds for your PC, the cacophony could just as well be heard on its own stand-alone terms. (Ding!) Since Brown is such an accomplished aural anarchist, creating unearthly clatter that would be the envy of Japanese fracas-fetishist Merzbow, this collection argues that FX can be an art form: Imagine hearing a simple downward tumble as sirens, whistles, or horns and you’ll get some idea of the guy’s mad genius. Avant types would have surely dug more barrage and less voice-over-style sops to boomers and their babies—the skits are even worse than the ones on hip-hop CDs. (Gong!) Still, there’s enough source material to make any turntablist drool, and enough rapid-fire montage for any drill’n’bass or digital-hardcore fan. They’d go gaga over “It Is to Laugh,” for instance, with its synchronized fart/bell/shot sequences, robotized madness, dying bagpipes, and sneezes chugging into choo-choos.
The self-proclaimed pizza de résistance is “Bugs Combo,” where collisions, gulps, howls, and drumrolls too psychotic for loungecore approximate a lowbrow country cousin of a Iannis Xenakis or Luc Ferrari collage. Crash! Bang! Boom! is a true family record—it’ll bring together nostalgic parents, precocious kids, and techno-teens (woo-woo!), all clamoring for clamor.