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AMOEBIC ENSEMBLE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Amoebiasis (Stupeur & Trompette) 1988
Limbic Rage (Over the Counter) 1995

Providence, Rhode Island's instrumental Amoebic Ensemble is a peculiar beast — a huge group (usually eight people) playing mostly acoustic instruments (except for electric violin and mandolin) and assorted metal detritus to create something of a bizarre old-time Weimar clinkety-clonk. Accordionist and main songwriter Alec K. Redfearn is one of the greatest song-titlers alive (Limbic Rage offers, among others, "Owls Are Actually Very Stupid," "Waxing Neuralgic" and "Gimme a Buck or I'll Touch You"), and his themes are pretty great, too: "Repetitive Motion Sickness" is a twisted Brecht-Weill-ish tango for people with an unusual number of feet. Instrumentally, on "Boilermaker," Redfearn's accordion parts knit neatly with Laura Gulley's violin lines.

After Limbic Rage, there was a three-year gap before the Amoebic Ensemble's next release; the brain-bending tales of desperation and substance abuse in an interview Redfearn did with the zine Wingnut help to explain why.

[Douglas Wolk]
   
This piece was first published in Badaboom Gramophone #3 and appears here with permission.