nine inch johnson, Holy Ghost Machine Gun (mp3.com, 2000)
[originally posted 9May2000}
The first release form nij/Hellcattle brainbox Joe New, Holy Ghost Machine Gun is an odd little compendium of keyboard noodling, samples, and the kind of twisted humor that leads to people writing songs like “My Girlfriend Is Inflatable” (to the tune of “Simply Irresistible.” And no, I’m not making this up). In the tradition of some of the finest pop being written today, New combines uptempo keyboard lines and happy, hippy beatbox with nasty, depressing, and hysterical samples, in an attempt to leave the listener confused at best and bipolar at worst.
And while there is great potential in New’s work, there are still signs that this is a first album. It lacks general direction, and there’s not really a feeling of unity or connectedness with what’s going on between the lines. However, that said, there are a number of strong pieces on the album, most notably “asshole” (which garners the award for “most creative use of a sample from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), “Strung Out” (crazy preachers with Hilterian intensity– and you can dance to it!), and the indescribable title track. This one can be garnered for six bucks and postage at nij’s mp3.com site (http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/75/nine_inch_johnson.html) [ed. note 2013: link dead, of course], and it’s most definitely worth a listen. As should be obvious from the above, unless you believe as I do that children are the last oppressed subculture in America and should be allowed unrestricted freedom of access to anything on the Internet, you might want to keep them from clicking on the link above. ***