BLUE MAN GROUP: Audio (Virgin)There are some artists that are best when you can see what they're doing. There are other artists that can produce music that stands on its own, without any visual aspects. Blue Man Group falls somewhere in between. For those who have never seen them on TV, or better yet, live in person, the core players in Blue Man Group are Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink. The trio is probably best known for their unusual percussive performances. Their heads and hands are covered in blue grease paint, hence the name. The group uses a wide variety of things as instruments (some of them can be quite elaborate), ranging from PVC pipe and fiberglass rods (in varying shapes and sizes), to an antique instrument from Hungary called a cimbalom (similar to a hammer dulcimer).

Musically, the group sounds a lot like some of the things you'd hear on IRS's (now defunct) No Speak label--heavy on the percussion sounds, with an electronic rock base. The bad thing is that you can't see what the 'musicians' are doing to create these sounds, which is the most entertaining facet of the group. This is performance art at its finest. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate as well to the CD format. Singularly, the songs can stand on their own. But by the time you're halfway thru the disc, it starts to get monotonous. The bottom line here is that these songs would be great on a mix tape, but it's probably not something that you'll listen to from start to finish.

© 2000 Steve Marshall

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