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WALTER STEDING (Buy CDs by this artist)
Walter Steding (Red Star) 1980
Dancing in Heaven (Animal) 1982

The idea of an avant-garde punk violinist may be intriguing; as one of the genre's few proponents, Walter Steding is not. Aside from Robert Fripp's enlivening, energetic appearance on "Hound Dog," the first side of this New Yorker's 1980 debut LP offers little more than self-conscious preppie punque. The second half is mainly aimless processed fiddle scraping. Producer Chris Stein provides superficial technical polish, but one can only wonder why he bothered.

For his second outing (on Stein's label, this time) Steding recruited a larger band and several part-time helpers. Despite an apparently sincere resolve to master pop forms, he still has little to say and even less wherewithal to say it.

[Mark Fleischmann]