Mayor Red Hot Taco Ghost Chili Peppers

With “fecund absoluteness and fertile je ne sais quoi” Mayor Taco Ghost doubles down on the absurdism, theatricality, and kink of his previous work (Dream Man, 2014 and The Worm, 2015), offering up a mythosphere as gigantic as Sun Ra’s and as cross-eyed as your memefeed. Though anchored in soul instrumentation and fusion harmony, the lounge-funk smoothness is repeatedly cut and withheld: the sexiest genre, castrated. The lyrics goof on body-horror, the backup singers tweak and squawk, the harmonies seeth at the outer edge of consonance–and are occasionally pushed over that edge in a miasma of avant-jazz horn freakout.

Every track tosses us into a new dreamworld, each peopled with a different set of vocal characters, who quarrel, snarl, and croon at one another, and whose unexpected entries trigger sonic scene changes mid-verse–to say nothing of the interspersed ringtones (downloadable here) or voicemails. Perhaps it is such interruptions and interactions that suggest the fragglefucked world in your headphones. There is a “real band” behind it, and they do get down, but the studio remains the essential instrument here, so rife are the auteurist assertions, face morphs, and gooey finishing moves. Much of the kaleidoscopic, painterly synth production is furnished by Joe Mariglio (quickly becoming the sonological lynchpin of the Risky Forager family), who also sings karaoke to some MTG’s instrumentals and sportscasts some of his inner desire. Maybe if Captain Beefheart had done Broadway, or if Gary Wilson had stalked Stockhausen, one could gesture at references and comparisons. But since neither probably happened, Mayor Taco Ghost gropes in scant company for high art in low humor, wide reference, and ringtones.

–The Risky Forager

Tommy Babin – bass
Ian Carroll – trombone
Drew Ceccato – tenor sax, bari sax
Dustin Donahue – flexatone
Chris Golinski – drums (tracks 2, 5, 8, 9, 12 and 14)
Paul Hembree – trumpet
Dillon Kondor – acoustic guitar
Bonnie Lander – back-up vocals, lead vocals (track 13)
Joe Mariglio – synth design, spoken vocals
Jonathon Nussman – back-up vocals (track 9)
Scott Petersen – bass vocals (track 13)
Bob Pierzak – vocals, piano, synths
Jacob Russo – bongos
Eric Starr – trombone (track 9 intro)
Adam Tinkle – alto sax
Meghann Welsh – yodeling
Josh Yi – drums (tracks 6 and 11)

Succulent Flappy Putin composed by Joe Mariglio
Track 6 lyrics Clint McCallum and Bob Pierzak
All other tracks composed by Bob Pierzak
Engineered by Colin Zyskowski
Produced / mixed by Joe Mariglio and Bob Pierzak
Mastered by Wayne Peet, Newzone Studio LA