John Lennon/Yoko Ono - Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins LP


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Label: Secretly Canadian

Our Review:

To many, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Unfinished Music Vol. 1: Two Virgins, predicted the forthcoming death knell of The Beatles. Few commercial records of the era were ever allowed to be made to be purposely so polarizing. Starting with the provocative album cover of the couple naked framed as Adam and Eve that was immediately censored with a modesty sleeve, Two Virgins marked an extraordinary sea change in rock music experimentation. An extension of Ono's already established radical art practice (Fluxus poetic instructions, performance happenings and oblique sculptures that confounded the relationship between object and action), her high-profile marriage to John Lennon only accentuated her arts' profound and often times primal intensity, allowing her a more visible platform for new sonic trajectories.

Utilizing tape recordings, guitar feedback, organ, piano and vocal-less voice into impromptu Musique Concrete-inspired process art, the duo upend the role of commercial musical expectation into something both simultaneously artless and avant garde. It's akin to a weird rebirthing therapy session where they are trying to create the most instantaneous sound as possible without invoking anything remotely cerebral. There is a curiously strange amalgamation of sounds from vaudeville tunes to haunted organ as well as Ono's nearly animalized mewlings that it begins to sound like some bizarrely haphazard and oblique radio play. Not a far cry from Alan Sondheim's Ritual-All-7-70 ensemble or Alan Watt's This is IT.