Union Carbide Productions

  • Union Carbide Productions
  • In the Air Tonight (Swed. Raduim 226.05) 1987  (Skyclad) 1989 
  • Financially Dissatisfied Philosophically Trying (Radium 226.05/Skyclad) 1989 
  • From Influence to Ignorance (Swed. Radium 226.05) 1991 

Iggy Pop has always insisted that the Stooges were really a free-jazz band in rock drag. If you accept that, then you’ll likely find Sweden’s Union Carbide Productions to be the best — or at least the most authentic — band mining the Dee-troit vein of sonic scrunge. The first album’s top tracks (“Financial Declaration,” “Cartoon Animal”) could play hide’n’seek on any late-’60s Michigan compilation tape you’d care to make, while the furthest out (like the epic “Down on the Beach”) owe more to Sun Ra. By adding howling horns (two members double on sax) and a non-traditional rhythm section that rarely functions as just a timekeeper to the wah-wah heavy rock on In the Air Tonight, UCP neatly sidesteps any charges of revivalism.

Financially Dissatisfied sees the quintet spackling yet more tiles — both breathtaking (haunting, spare piano) and grimace-inducing (cheesy sitar) — into the gonzo mosaic. There’s also a little, um, post-structuralism creeping into songs like “Another Rock’n’Roll Statement” and “San Francisco Boogie,” but Ebbot Lundberg’s Drano-gargling vocals keep ’em firmly earthbound.

[Deborah Sprague]

See also: The Soundtrack of Our Lives