Emergency Broadcast Network

  • Emergency Broadcast Network
  • Telecommunications Breakdown (TVT) 1995 

Beware multi-media organizations bearing cultural artifacts. Emergency Broadcast Network may very well mount exciting performance happenings, and the three videos on the trio’s full-length debut package, which contains a CD-ROM and a floppy disc “interactive booklet,” might be mind-blowing to those with the technology to watch ’em, but the record’s audio collages are strictly any-monkey-with-a-sampler-and-a-beat-box ordinary. Originally organized by Joshua Pearson and Gardner Post at the Rhode Island School of Design in the mid-’80s, EBN specializes in topical hip-hop pastiches and high-concept put-ons that load up the sonic details without much concern for the basics; you either join the chaotic fun in progress or wait in vain for something comprehensible to catch your ear. The audio portion of Telecommunication Breakdown has one potent item (“Shoot the Mac-10,” with guest rapper Melle Mel), but otherwise rattles and hums like a five-year-old let loose in the tape library. This is progress?

[Ira Robbins]