This here’s a scraggly collection of James Jackson Toth recordings pre-Wooden Wand/WW & The Vanishing Voice, mostly recorded at home and in a decrepit university basement at Purchase College called “The Cave” and originally released cerca 1996. Conveying the sound of this stuff requires quoting Toth at length:
“In the interest of full disclosure, I funded the record by ripping off my dad. My father had set me up with a meal plan at school, and it got around via art school junkie lore that if you requested a refund within the first two weeks of a semester, the school would give you a check for the difference. I remember receiving and cashing a check for over a thousand dollars, and using the money to press the LP. I didn’t eat a proper lunch for an entire semester, so I hope no one will take me to ask when I say I almost literally starved to make this record.”
That kind of juvenilia is what’s at play hear; a young free-jazz, noise and Jandek-obsessed record geek spewing premature creativity into a 4-track tape recorded. While some of it’s not “enjoyable”, none of it’s “bad.” For those familiar with Toth’s later work, this collection will serve as a primordial collage of what would grow into one of the strongest songwriting voices in the new weird whatever. For others, it will be just plain strange. Either way, it’s fun to listen to.