My current favorite holiday record is Mark Mothersbaugh’s perversely beguiling Joyeux Mutato. It’s an electronic wonderland “for anyone who has ever been traumatized by the Christmas season and is intended to provide solace and shelter from the ensuing onslaught of over-heated holiday situations.”
Whatever pal, but the ex-Devo major domo, and current Rugrats and All Grown Up musical maestro has created a soundscape that begins with an energetic techno disassembly and reconstruction of “Jingle Bells” called “Jingle, Jingle, Jingle” that maniacally asserts the categorical to shake little bells.
The first tune is uncharacteristic of the rest of the CD, which is smooth-unto-ambience most of the way in a beeping, booping, squiggle on the offbeat Rugratian manner. “Blue Joy” is lovely and loping in casual one-horse-open-sleigh way, “Midnight Wind-up Toy” evokes just that magical autoanthropomorphism, and on and on. Along the way there are snatches of favorite themes from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town, “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” and others.
It’s profound and disturbing, if not profoundly disturbing. Included in the package are Mothersbaugh’s holiday tales “Nativity Kidnap Scene,” “Don Santa Grants Rudolph His Wish, and “Santa, the Sausage-Juggling Fool,” complete with devolved illustrations. It’s a beautiful holiday mess.