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Published: 2003/10/29
by Pat Buzby

1:3:1 – Dufus

FaerAway Rekerds 131/ROIR

When Jesse e-mailed me about this CD, he
misspelled the band name as "Rufus," which left me
eagerly anticipating a reunion disc from Chaka Khan's
band. I was disappointed to learn that this wasn't
forthcoming, but perked up when the promo material
threw around the names The Fugs and Mothers of Invention
as comparisons for Dufus. There was even a plug from
Bernard Stollman, founder of the obscure but legendary
ESP label.

A reviewer should never let press releases shape his
thoughts, but the comparisons actually are both
appropriate and earned. Dufus, which may or may not
be essentially the work of one Seth Faergolzia with
assorted accomplices, may be somewhat short on poetic
resources compared to The Fugs and compositional
know-how compared to Zappa (as if it's fair to hold
Dufus up to those lofty standards), but they bring the
late-60s spirit embodied by both of those artists
into the present without nostalgia. In particular,
the self-titled opening cut sounds like "Mother
People" meets South Park, and I mean that in the most
complimentary way.

1:3:1 offers close to an hour of genuinely crazed
music, performed by a chaotic ensemble of men and
women, mostly in a sort of shambolic punk-folk vein.
Somewhat reminiscent of ESP printing its credits in
Esperanto, Dufus's liner text mostly appears in some
kind of pidgin English ("welcom t us, wuld y liek it
if we culd taek y inta a staet uv bliss?") sure to
confound Microsoft Word-equipped computers. Under the
linguistic barrier is a series of humorous and
engaging exhortations to subvert the dominant
paradigm, fantasizing about "Mor Grl Cops" and "Jocks
Carrying Dildos" and laying down a challenge to
"fathr" and "mothr" to listen to their "children"
(spelled correctly for once) near the disc's end.
There are even Smile echoes in the concluding "Fire."

In "T Mself," Faergolzia wonders about his place in
NYC, but for this reviewer, it's encouraging to get a
disc like this from a city that's seemed not to be
good for much more than skronk-for-its-own-sake and
punk posing in recent months. The best self-released
CD (now distributed by ROIR) that I've encountered to date.

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