I really have to wonder if there is anyone working in music today who is as prolific as JG Thirlwell. Just keeping track of his various nom de plumes is a challenge. As "JG Thirlwell" he is currently providing the music for the wonderfully subversive Venture Bros. show on Adult Swim. But that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Beginning the early eighties, he took the name "Foetus" to release his "rock" oriented music, with four-letter titles such as Nail, Limb, and his most recent Hide. Beyond that he has branched out considerably with Steroid Maximus and Manorexia.
Thirlwell's most recent release is Dinoflagellate Blooms, issued under the Manorexia moniker. As is the case with the previous Manorexia titles, Thirlwell finds interesting juxtapositions between relatively obscure scientific terms that have little (or maybe everything) to do with the instrumental music within. Personally, I always look forward to each Manorexia release, because this is where some of the man's most experimental sounds tend to wind up. Dinoflagellate Blooms is no exception.
There is a marked tendency to play certain tones off of each other during many of the album's 11 tracks. Those not familiar with Thirlwell's style might consider some of the results dissonant, but not if they are really listening. For example, the opening track "Cryogenics" begins with a segment that reminds me somewhat of where the Art Ensemble went during their magnum opus People In Sorrow. Like that very avant-garde 40-minute piece, "Cryogenics" has a great deal to say, although it is a much shorter track at only 3:18. What it does provide is a suitably thought-provoking beginning for a disc that gets very dark at times.
The very next cut, "Anabiosis," clocks in at 8:16, and is almost frightening at times. This is a new version of a tune originally comissioned for the Bang On A Can ensemble, and Thirlwell gives it a suitably over the top rendition. The lengthiest track is titled "Krzystl," and best sums up what I have always enjoyed about Thirlwell's music, no matter what name it is given. Beginning with what sounds like either breaking glass, or radio crystals exploding of their own volition, this is definitely not what one would call "easy listening." But Thirlwell has never been interested in simply traveling down the usual listener-friendly path. He unflaggingly expresses what is in his heart, and if that is not all peaches and cream, then tough luck.