Arthur Loves Plastic
by Michael Lane
March 31, 1999

ONE WOMAN SHOW



Washington, DC

rthur is a cat. He loves plastic grocery bags. You know, the supermarket kind that end up overflowing out of your bottom drawer because you never throw them away. He loves playing in them. Bev Stanton loves to watch. When she's not watching Arthur she's down in her D.C. area basement cranking out tunes for her one woman band called "Arthur Loves Plastic."

Before you file this away in the "go figure" department, better take a listen. In the male-dominated world of ambient/electronic/industrial/techno music, in which sampling and remixing are generally the work of testosterone-driven audio collagists, Bev Stanton has cranked out six CD's in the span of three years, all of them highly seductive, with a discernible feminine touch. Her first CD, Sperm Warfare, was a total fluke. It was produced in her basement and mailed as a sampler to several dozen reviewers, one of whom, Music from the Empty Quarter, offered to release it. Her subsequent albums, The Zero State, Professor Fate, The Complete Teflon Diva, Slice and DCremix have been making the dance club circuit and are distributed through her web site . Stanton has also produced for film and dance theater.

Bev records in a minimalist setup out of her home that includes a mixer, a few sound modules, a four track, a drum machine and a Korg M1 keyboard. On occasion she gets impressive vocal assistance from local Celtic folk singer Lisa Moscatiello. If you start having visions of Bjork, Dead Can Dance, early Brian Eno, or a pensive Laurie Anderson, you won't be the first. Many compare here soundscapes to the complex textures found in these artists' work. In 1998, Arthur Loves Plastic walked away with two WAMMIE awards in the techno category. And if her newest CD, "DCremixes"--five remixes of local D.C. rock bands--catches fire, you'll be hearing more air play.

Stanton works her magic by collecting random sounds, t.v. chatter, digital snippets, people talking, or in the case of Moscatiello, singing, and mixes her creations into traditional songs with an intriguing mosaic of rhythm and sound bites.

The music of Arthur Loves Plastic is often pure mastery. Slice, her fourth CD, is undoubtedly her most lyrical. Track 1, entitled "Ashtray," has the haunting voice of a solo female with moody synthesizer wailing in the background. Track 13 is a dark homage to death called "Look at the Coffin," and has an eerie traditional Celtic voice over an off-key drone. But without question, Track 15, "Bright Lights, Big City," is a winning ballad, sung in duet above a deeply orchestrated synthesizer and piano with the haunting admonishment to "Dream away fear that makes you angry, cast away the life that nails your feet, leave it all, just leave it all, there are no precious moments, just mistakes that we have made."

Though not all tracks aspire to greatness, there is a consistent haunting mood throughout, a dependable celebratory beat, and the occasional swell of passion that comes raiding your subconscious like a stealth bomber in the night. Arthur Loves Plastic is a D.C. cat to watch out for.





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