One can’t help but embrace Rubber-O-Cement’s love affair with the two-dimensional
on their split LP with Panicsville (Nihilist). Deciphering the duo’s cardboard
computer and ramshackle Witchypoo costuming is hardly a vexing conundrum, although
it would be nice if such grammar school thetrics were genuine attempts to deceive
the audience into believing that a pair of six-foot-tall third-graders might
actually be creating electronic noise at the Clitstop on a school night after 11:30.
Playing Peabody to Rubber-O’s Sherman, Panicsville set the Wayback Machine for the
Columbia University of Electronic Music Center, 1953. Among the bachelor pad
birdcalls, space jingles, random blips and bleeps (when the computer’s thinking),
certain anachronisms are noticeable, such as Andy Ortmann’s familiarity with deep
noise (the bifocals and necktie idea of noise being flat, hissy static with no
presence). One welcome absence is the insecurity that unless all these gizmos can
be trained to blip and bleep “Bicycle Built For Two”, no one’s going to accept
electronics as a viable method of commodity production (excuse me, music making).