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Charity Empressa
Artist: Charity Empressa
Label: Absalom Recordings
Length: 11 tracks

Eric Campuzano has a knack for putting together and getting involved in some pretty cool projects.  From his earlier work with The Prayer Chain and the Lassie Foundation, to his recent outing with the Cush, Campuzano always delivers.  And now comes his latest project, Charity Empressa.

This self-titled disc is billed as a "drone project" of Eric Campuzano and the Frank Lenz Foundation, and it features many lush instrumentals as well as a few tunes with vocals.

The disc is filled with guest appearances from some rather interesting vocalists and musicians including Matthew Kelly (The Autumns), Jason Martin (Starflyer 59), Wayne Everett (Lassie Foundation, Cush, Prayer Chain), Andy Prickett and Troy Daugherty (Duraluxe).

On "Carew" Matt Fronke lends his improvisational trumpeting skills, while other songs borrow elements from artists such as Peter Gabriel.  "May the Good Lord Find You" sweeps through with an ethnic feel, while "Give 'em Hell" is filled with industrial overtones.

One of the true standouts is "Shake Your Money Maker," featuring borrowed vocals from the Albert Francis Trio, a 1930s era Gospel group.  The song is somewhat reminiscent of some of Moby's latest work on Play.  Jason Martin provides the vocals on "Cool as Cranes," Troy Daugherty sings on "The Crush of Mountains," and Matthew Kelly lends his voice to "Future King of England."

The disc ends with perhaps the best song on the album, a very trippy "The Kool Kids and Rok n Roll."  With Wayne Everett leading the way, Charity Empressa drops names of numerous bands from the Stones and the MC5 to the Who, Kinks, Beatles, Ramones, Agent Orange, and a host of others.  Also mentioned in the rock and roll litany are Duraluxe, The Foundation, and the late Gene Eugene.

Released on Canada's Absalom Recordings, this CD was recorded over a three year period and was mixed at the Green Room by engineering genius Chris Colbert.

Ken Mueller 9/15/2001



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