Transcending the Bounds of Alienation
m0n0chr0me | Sydney, Australia | 02/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This being my first foray into Ms Lunch's spoken word work, I was initially disappointed that this album was literal 'spoken word' with no accompanying music.
However, it soon became apparent that this was the perfect medium for an excoriating diatribe-a-deux on the disgust engendered by the cruelties and hypocrisies of the modern era, one in which any 'arty' softening of the blow is unequivocally denied. Lunch and Cervenka identify the labels society uses to alienate and condemn, and this performance makes up one part of what seems to be at least in Lydia's case (I'm more familiar with her work) an extended project of living as vengeance.
No-one familiar with her oeuvre should be surprised that Lydia's work ranges outside the usual tired and sub-literate rantings of the 'transgressive'. The subject matter places the album firmly in its contemporary period (with reflections on, for example, the O. J. Simpson case) but ranges more broadly, covering feminist rage, the identification of a view of Nazism as a mythological evil unrooted in knowledge of its historical reality allowing modern Western societies and individuals to deny their own complicity in present and past atrocities, Japanese war crimes, and 'alternative' fashion, to name just a few of the issues discussed.
The performance develops as a stream-of-consciousness duologue which mingles the aforementioned political, social & historical exploration with more poetic material.
Rude Hieroglyphics is infused with a mordant humour which, along with the ethos of self-sufficiency espoused by the performers, allows the listener to avoid plunging too deeply into despair and depression at the world as accurately represented here (although I suspect that this wasn't an intentional mercy on the part of Lunch and Cervenka). The method in which they deal with a male heckler alone is a perfect demonstration of this wit, and, outside the individual context of the encounter, evinces the contempt the performers hold not only for the wider world but for a hostile and/or passive audience.
This is not a performance to be comfortably consumed or to valorise teenage-rebellion style rejection and alienation; rather, it's a scenic tour through the byways of an endlessly sick society, and a manifesto which paradoxically calls for both hermit-like withdrawal, and for vengeance."
Rude Hieroglyphics(genius and madness)
SarahK66 | Houston, Texas | 07/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time I bought this was when I was 18. I was starting college and I became so deeply involved in it..I would just listen to it everyday. It was amazing!!! I threw the CD away in some ritual of trying to throw away everything that was making me obsessed whether it was books, music cds,and all my art. So 10 years later I am buying it again!!The first time I heard Lydia and Exene's spoken word was on The Home Alive Cd which was to benefit Mia Zapata from the Gits. Rude Hieroglyphics is far the best spoken word I have ever heard. I saw Lydia 4 years ago doing her spoken word in New Orleans at the now defunct Shim Sham club..it was great!! I think she was aggravated with me and my friend because we were the only prissy looking girls there and we were laughing at all the goth people who kept on giving us evil stares. The Shim Sham was full of victorian goths who brought dolls with them that were dressed just like them..Lydia took notice."