Ghost Of Foodstool – The Bob Lazar Story
Perhaps one of the strangest artists I have ever stumbled across in the way he goes about putting out his music. The Bob Lazar Story is the creation of Matt Deacon originally from Liverpool in England and now residing in Christchurch in New Zealand.
Besides being quite an excellent musician who knows how to craft music brilliantly. Matt very much strikes me has the kind of guy who has some sort of strategic market strategy in the way he promotes his music, and not everything you see here is a simple as it looks.
To be perfectly honest the simplistic artwork he chooses for his album covers and even with music titles such as the “Funniest Cat Video Ever II” he associates with his music. He very much strikes me has the sort of person who is very much more associated with cartoon animation, rather than anything remotely to do with how his own music very much presents itself to some extent. Which is very much in the style of progressive rock.
He also describes himself as a “Purveyor of tritonal wankery” and I have a couple of my own observations as to why he does so. The first being that it’s down to his very funny sense of humour, and secondly this may very well be down to the fact that not all the music here was constructed with the use of real instrumentation.
There is also a mathematical equation thrown into the process here with the use of the computer and midi regarding the biggest majority of the keyboard work you are hearing here. Though the guitars, bass and drums are the real thing.
Though the end result I have to say is purely fantastic and there is no doubt that Matt studied music theory very well to be able to construct and structure music in this way. He is also a very good guitarist who is capable of even performing the music we have here live on stage with the other two excellent musicians he has in the line up that make up The Bob Lazar Story.
All music composed by Matt Deacon.
Matt Deacon – Guitars.
Mike Fudakowski – Bass.
Chris Jago – Drums.
Tanya Didham & David Biedny – Vocals (On Track 4).
Ghost Of Foodstool (EP) Review…
The Ghost Of Foodstool by The Bob Lazar Story was released on the 13th July 2014. It’s a very short EP and the shortest release out of all 6 albums and EP’s that have been released so far. It contains 7 mainly instrumental tracks over a playing time of precisely 14 minutes, and not the “nearly fifteen minutes of aural thunder” that is advertised on Bandcamp. Though the latter part of that statement may well be right :))))).
It’s the 4th mini album release out of the 6 releases he has to date, and even though this EP only has 14 minutes worth of material on it, it’s been made available in the form of both a digital download for $4 and physical CD for $12 to which you also get a free Fridge Magnet should you order the CD.
I myself opted for the digital download and with Bandcamp’s tax rate added as well that still cost me some £3.79p which in all honesty is about the same price of a mainstream artists physical CD of an EP sold in a record shop over here. No way would I fork out the price of the CD I am afraid and Matt must think we still get 2 American dollars to the English pound since he left all those years back to go to New Zealand :))))))).
Though to be perfectly honest there is no doubt that even the 14 minutes you get on this release is well worthy of the price I paid, and this is music that genuinely rocks my boat 100%. It’s that addictive, I had to buy it and still pay my respect to the superb musicians we have here that made it all happen.
The music of The Bob Lazar Story is very much heavily influenced by many of the 70’s prog rock and fusion artists and there is no doubt that this is music that is structured very closely to many of those greats from that decade and is very skilfully done.
One of the biggest influences you will notice immediately I would say is that this is very close to the likes of Frank Zappa. Though there are other influences here as well such as the 70’s medieval prog rock band Gryphon which lends it medieval folk side slightly to it, and also the diversity of the band Gentle Giant for its musical transitional sharp changing chord progression.
Some have even mentioned King Crimson but for my ears I do not hear that in the music we have here on this release but have done on some of the others, and this for me is much more complex in its musical structure and more along the lines of the 3 artists I already mentioned. Plus of course it has their own elements thrown into the pot here.
For me personally the brilliance in the way that The Bob Lazar Story has constructed the music here, is really in how it‘s all done over such a short time span with the short tracks that are on this EP. It’s a very hard thing to do over such a short space and cram all the chord progression we are getting into one short piece of music and make it work so amazingly well.
There is no doubt that this is music done on higher level and out of the artists I already mentioned earlier I would think that only Frank Zappa and Gentle Giant were the only capable ones of doing such a thing with so little space to work around back in the 70’s. The only other newer artist I can think of right now who is also capable of doing such thing today is perhaps Neil Morse. Though even Morse himself was heavily influenced by Gentle Giant.
So let’s take a closer look at the 7 short pieces you get over the 14 minutes and I will try and analyse just what we have here, if I can :)))))))))).
Track 1. Westminster.
Though the title of this fabulous piece may sound like it’s to do with a place of politics that can be found in the capital city of London here in the England. It was in fact inspired and conceived by a ride Matt had down Westminster Avenue in his now home town of Christchurch in new Zealand.
No doubt this superb constructed piece goes through some superb chord progression and lovely melodic changes. The piece is also very well structured and it may have been written originally on the keyboard has a basis and starting point.
Though Matt is mainly a guitarist and he does not credit himself or anybody on the album for keyboards. I suspect that the keyboards on this track are played by himself in some parts and it may also have been programmed to play some of its parts.
Only Matt could answer that question, and has I have not tried to get in touch with him to make my review here. I honestly could not tell you the truth, and can only make my own observation which could be right or wrong I am afraid.
Besides the some super keyboard work in the piece it features some beautiful melodic melodies played on the acoustic guitar. It’s these acoustic sections of the piece that are very familiar with medieval side of Gryphon’s music and reminds of Graeme Taylor from that band.
The rhythmic section side of things here are quite Frank Zappa esc and this is the first album or EP that features Chris Jago playing drums on all tracks and from here on he has featured on the other 2 mini albums that followed it as well. Chris is without a doubt a solid drummer and his contribution to The Bob Lazar Story is formidable one and gave the band tremendous strength.
The track also features some more heavier electric guitar from Matt that adds the strength to some of its sections, as well as the odd touches of more cleaner electric guitar lending an hand. It’s also supported very well by Matt’s long time bass player Mike Fudakowski who has been a member of the band since their 2nd album The Silence of Perez de Cuellar done way back in 2007.
“Westminster” gets the album off to a terrific start. It has terrific diversity, well focused melody sections, and is very much a very high contender for the top spot on the album. I would also add that the keyboard work here sounds less midi-fied in relation to how they do sound on many of the other tracks on this album.
Track 2. Suhmassshh.
The shortest track on the album is a mere powerful burst of guitars and drums more familiar with an ending of a track that lasts all of 14 seconds. If anything it may work as a little ditty for the next track to follow. But I am not going to make a big thing out of it that’s for sure :))))))).
Track 3. Threadkiller.
A rather fast short ditty over a minute and half that catches some great interplay between Matt, Mike and Chris who are getting it together in an energetic tight groove. It’s not gonna bring the house down, but never the less is a great little rocker of a track.
Track 4. Ghost of Foodstool (ft The Sefton Knowledge).
The self titled track of the album happens to be the longest track on the album at some 3 minutes and 57 seconds. It’s another great track that has some great diversity about it with how it builds itself up.
The intro is really superb and although this particular track does once again feature quite a bit from the keyboards from Matt especially with the medieval motifs. He also uses his electric guitar to great effect with the opening lead lines, and even some heavier riffs to beef up parts of the track that work very well.
Mike’s bass plays more of dominate part on this track. He even gets to play a lovely little solo in a section of it which is very well supported by Matt on the organ and Chris’s drums.
The piece rolls through some nice changes up until around the 2:20 mark in which it settles down to a more steadier well driven pace to allow both Tanya Didham & David Biedny to come in with the spoken voice parts.
Tanya has featured on some of the other albums in the bands discography and even featured on their debut album (SiC) back in 2006. Has for the “Featuring The Sefton Knowledge” in the tracks title. I can only presume that it was inspired by Matt’s previous job as a taxi driver when he lived in Liverpool many years ago.
I have no idea of what Matt’s obsession with the word “Foodstool” is all about. But so far there is a track on all 6 of his albums that have the word in their title. This is another really excellent track and my personal fave of the album and merits my top spot award.
Track 5. J-Rod’s Pigeon Ladyshapes.
Another very short piece and one that’s title derived from an amalgamation from a few suggestions from fans on their Facebook page. It’s got a quirky little melody line but is perhaps a bit too midi-fied in the way that this has been done with the computers general midi rather than the sound from any real keyboard.
Track 6. Day Off More So.
This is another track that features midi-fied keyboards only here they are supported very well by the bass and drums and also some lovely acoustic guitar too. It’s a got a very relaxed feel about it and music is well apt to the title chose here too. The midi-fied keyboards do add to the dramatics of the piece and this piece would also fit very well to an animated cartoon.
It’s a cracking very well structured piece of music and another contender for the top spot on the album.
Track 7. Funniest Cat Video Ever II.
Another dramatic piece just like the previous track but has a lot more going for it with its diversity and structure. Despite the use of the midi-fied keyboard work on the piece the musicianship in all other departments is outstanding from all 3 musicians here.
It’s very much a very high contender for the top spot on the album and my 2nd favourite track on the album, and rounds off the EP superbly.
To sum up Ghost Of Foodstool by The Bob Lazar Story. I would say that it’s a very well constructed body of work you are getting here, even over its short time of 14 minutes. Has for the music itself it’s highly addictive and the EP works amazingly very well with how all the tracks have been placed on the album.
It’s an EP that works from the beginning to the end, and a couple of the much shorter snippets on the album such as “Suhmassshh” and “J-Rod’s Pigeon Ladyshapes” work better from hearing the EP this way rather than play them as individual tracks where they simply will not. It’s very much like a nonstop album.
However I do feel that most of the music here was originally constructed by a mouse on a computer and not so much from the real instrumentation in the first place. The real instrumentation was put in afterwards, and there is no doubt that the 3 musicians who played on it are extremely very talented musicians to be able to play around music even constructed in this way in the first place.
It perhaps uses modern technology to construct the music those greats I mentioned certainly never had in the first place. Never the less it still takes a lot of working out to be able to make music this way, hence the fact that even over the 6 mini albums The Bob Lazar Story have produced over the last decade or more, is not in an abundance and each album contains very little material on them.
Overall the 7 track EP Ghost Of Foodstool by The Bob Lazar Story maybe on the short side with the 14 minutes of music you get here, but it’s very infectious and addictive to a person like myself who happens to love progressive rock.
Having heard all 6 releases by The Bob Lazar Story several times over now. For me personally I feel that both the EP’s Ghost Of Foodstool and Self-Loathing Joe. Contain the strongest written and best structured material on them, and are without doubt both solid EP’s and are his best work to date.
I very much feel that if your into the likes of Frank Zappa. Gryphon. Gentle Giant or even King Crimson and many others, this is music that will appeal to you a lot and of course to those who love prog rock and fusion.
Regarding its price point I would recommend the digital download, simply because the CD is way overpriced for a product that only contains 14 minutes of material on it. But has a digital download I highly recommend it, and you are getting genuine quality for the money.
You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Ghost Of Foodstool here : https://theboblazarstory.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-of-foodstool
The track listing of the album is as follows:
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.