Final Relaxation is certainly an interesting record — “Your ticket to death through hypnotic suggestion” states the back sleeve, also advertising it as “The most unusual album ever sold!” Indeed it is unusual and most intriguing, however, does it live up to it’s promise? Is it as interesting as it sounds? Does it lead to the death of the listener? Well, I listened to it, and i’m still alive, and I have to say, i’m slightly disappointed.
The press for this release describes The Golding Institute as “a radical cult-group masquerading as an educational organisation” but who actually are we talking of here? Two people it seems, Gregg Turkington and Brendan Walls. The latter is a Syndey-based producer/electronics man who you may or may not have heard of but more likely you may be aware of Turkington, either through his deliciously-titled bands like Zip Code Rapists and Faxed Head, or through his alter-ego as the self-billed ‘world’s worst comedian’ Neil Hamburger, who though having appeared only minimally on the live circuit (although making an appearance on British soil under Slint’s curation at ATP) has released several records on Drag City.
Although there is much to laugh at here, it does seem slightly pointless.
Without knowing who Gregg Turkington is or paying too much attention to the exclamatory claims on the sleeve (or indeed the fill-in-the-blanks Final Will and Testament inside it) there is a possibility that the listener may take Final Relaxation to be something other than a comedy record — this illusion would be shattered though very shortly in to a listen. The suggestion at allowing the listener to die through listening to a record is a bit of a joke and it is a funny record, it’s front cover photo of a dead beached whale referencing the relaxation records it gloriously piss-takes. However, although there is much to laugh at here — particularly in the randomness of some of its lines — it does seem slightly pointless. It’s obviously too funny to ever be taken seriously but it’s not really funny enough to be a pure comedy record, it kind of ambles along but doesn’t quite deliver — and I cant imagine it really getting many repeat listens (the background sounds of resonating tubular drones work well for the idea but aren’t stimulating enough to request another more specific listen). For a strange thirty-minutes of sitting around with a few mates though after a few drinks it’s definitely interesting, however, it just shouldn’t be built up too much.