Spacejumbofudge (Hypnotic, 1996)
OTIS’ debut album, Spacejumbofudge, was released by Toronto-based label Hypnotic, though I’ve been told it was only available as an import in Canada. That might explain why it was reissued a couple years later by Man’s Ruin, albeit without “Super Typhoon,” “You’re Nothing” and “Windows,” which had all worked their way onto Temple Ball.
In fact, it’s those first two songs that lead off this record, “Super Typhoon” building up slowly into a storm of psychedelic fuzz-rock riffage that slows down briefly, creating a looming, menacing mood some three-and-a-half minutes in. “You’re Nothing” is an updated take on Paid to Suffer’s “Nothing,” the stomping kick drums and echoing vocals giving this version more heft. “The Truth” mellows things out a bit, some looming bass and swirling guitar effects providing the backbone of this uber-slow number. “Sidebar” then serves as an ultra-heavy two-minute interlude, before things get really interesting…
For some reason, I keep going back to “Clowns,” even though it’s a bit of a bizarre track. It adopts an upbeat industrial chug for the most part, complete with whispered underwater vocals, but slows down to a devastatingly drawn-out chorus. I guess it’s that time change that gets me every time. But if you thought that last track was jacked-up, well, you ain’t heard nothing yet. I hereby give you “Big Muff” in all its 10-and-a-half minute glory. This would probably be considered drone nowadays, a series of low-‘n-slow bass and effects-laden ringing notes that culminates in a crush of heavy pounding and swirling riffs some eight minutes later. If you turn up your stereo in order to better hear the quieter moments, the effect is particularly jarring.
“World” opens with a hard-charging backbeat, vocals drowning in a sea of effects, which work especially well on the chorus. For my money’s worth, Ken is one of the few frontmen who can pull off these vocal effects effectively in the live setting. Ending in a sea of wah, it begets the opening siren sounds of “Theme,” a song that lets freedom ring for a bit before ushering in an ominous drum beat and some low bass. It in turns leads into “Anti-Nauseant,” a churning sea of distortion with the repeated refrain “Feel my anger” echoing overhead.
This of course brings us to the final, closing pièce de résistance… Yup, you guessed it: “Windows.” Benefitting from better production this time around (though the inside booklet famously states “Mastered by Nobody”), this number isn’t all that different from the earlier version on PTS, though the riffs on here appear to have more room to breathe. Bottom line, this is a pretty sweet jam, no matter which of the three recorded versions you listen to.