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Desertscraped: New Noise From the Neon Wilderness

Various Artists

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Desertscraped: New Noise From the Neon Wilderness
Two stars

A noble attempt to document Las Vegas’ generally ignored experimental scene, this 13-track compilation succumbs more to logistics than to its oddball sound array. Curated by local writer Jarret Keene, Desertscraped does a solid job unearthing avant-leaning talent, but yields zero info about its chosen acts (apart from musical appellations and web addresses, the latter of which often provide no further illumination). Considering such a collection cannot seriously be intended as a straight-through listening experience, it raises the obvious question: What good is spotlighting unknown artists without the most basic details about their work?

Apparently, liner notes were victims of the project’s budget (funding came by way of a Cirque du Soleil Community Support Grant), which might also explain why the disc’s run totaled just 100 copies, most of which were handed out during a Monday-night event marking its release. Why not make an unlimited number of the home-burned CD-Rs available for a nominal fee? Surely, further exposure could only benefit the artists.

Those who do get to hear Desertscraped—e-mail [email protected] to snatch up leftovers—will undoubtedly find it a mixture of curious treasures (visual artist Stephen Hendee’s evocative live piece “Be My Suicide”; a Jacob Smigel found-sound spoken clip; Hallowed Butchery’s alternately sedate/howling “Dirge”) and drill-through-the-brain dissonance (here’s looking at you, shocker_tv), which means in that respect, at least, it lives up to its mission statement exquisitely.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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