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PARASITES OF THE WESTERN WORLD (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Parasites of the Western World (Criminal) 1978 (self-released) [CD] 2007
Substrata (Match Box) 1980
PATRICK BURKE
Silence and Timing (Criminal) 1981

Down from Portland, Oregon came the two-man Parasites, spreading electronic weirdness throughout the land. Patrick Burke and Terry Censky play just about everything but the kitchen sink; they're aided by an occasional guitarist and drummer on their two combo albums, but it's mainly them.

The first LP is full of dense (but not monotonous) semi-electronic rock pieces. Some have words, but most are evocative, cinematic instrumentals that are good and loud — none of that wimpy ambient crap! As a treat, they run through the song that might have inspired them — the Beatles' "Flying."

Substrata leans toward more routine rock — vocals, guitar, less weirdness — and tries hard to be mainstream; its amateurish predecessor is much more entertaining.

Burke's solo record — one of those nobody-helped jobs — differs greatly from the Parasites' releases. Using more technology, Silence and Timing works to display his songs in a sleek, modern setting.

[Ira Robbins]