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Stuff You Might’ve Missed – Blind Idiot God

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Formed in the early 80s, BIG (whose name was based on a work by H.P’s Lovecraft) were an instrumental trio of Andy Hawkins, Gabe Katz and Ted Epstein. Eventually, they moved to New York and signed with SST Records, who, at that time, were much criticized for signing a whole number of bands that had little or nothing to do with early SST hardcore/punk ethos ( sound of bands like Black Flag, Miniutemen and Husker Du certainly bore little resemblance to that of bands like Pell Mell or Zoogz Rift).

Blind Idiot God were certainly a non-typical SST band or, more likely, a non-typical band for any label – their sound was an unlikely mix of ambience, speed metal and dub, a combination which probably made them close musical relatives of John Zorn band Naked City. Coincidentally, they worked with Zorn on “Purged Specimen” EP and he also produced their final album – 1993 “Cyclotron”.

Cyclotron - 1993
Cyclotron - 1993

All Music Guide commented on “Cyclotron” – One might have expected that Zorn, who guested on Blind Idiot God’s previous release, could have steered the trio toward more overtly experimental ground, but the band instead continued with its unique mixture of anthemic hardcore explosions and spacy, sensual, dub-influenced ruminations.”

Further on, AMG pointed out that “Cyclotron is a continuation of the ideas set forth on Blind Idiot God’s initial self-titled release, and those ideas, once so bracing, were beginning to lose some luster five years down the road. While still head and shoulders over most thrash-influenced “math rock,” it was becoming clear that this particular well was beginning to show signs of dryness and that perhaps the band members would be advised to think of drilling elsewhere.”

They certainly seemed intent on surpassing themselves with each album, but then it appears that by 1993 the band decided that they certainly tried out their collective hand at anything and split up, with most of them still working on different musical projects – Andy Hawkins released one album under the name Azonic (1994 Halo, which came out on Strata label), Gabe Katz worked with dub guru Bill Laswell and Lori Carson (Golden Palominos), among others, while Ted Epstein worked with Praxis, a supergroup with a rotating line-up which included Bill Laswell, Brian Mantia (Guns’n’Roses, Primus), Bootsie Collins, Buckethead (Guns’n’Roses) and Mick Harris (Napalm Death, Scorn), among many others.

It was rumored that a band will start recording new material/reunite in the 21st century, with Tim Wyskida (Khanate) joining them on drums, but so far nothing came out of those plans.

Members of Blind Idiot God are currently involved with Downriver, yet another instrumental band from Brooklyn, NY, which is said to ” combine modal drone-oriented songs played on open-tuned guitars with soaring pedal steel improvisation.”

Band members:

Andy Hawkins (Azonic)

Gabe Katz

Ted Epstein

Tim Wyskida (Jodis, Khanate)

Discography:

Blind Idiot God LP / CD (SST, 1987)

Undertow LP / CD (Enemy Records, 1988)

Sawtooth 12″ (Enemy Records, 1989)

Cyclotron CD (Avant, 1992)

Compilation Tracks:

“Dark And Light” on No Age – A Compilation Of SST Instrumental Music (SST, 1987)

“Stravinsky/Blasting Off” + “Wise Man Dub” on SST Godhead Storedude In-Store Play Device #2 (SST, 1987)

“Wide Open Spaces” on SST Over 35 Videos Never Before Released (SST, 1987)

“Spirou Et Fantasio A New York” on Bandes Originales Du Journal De Spirou (Nato, 1989)


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