How To Sell… Review In INK19

Sir Millard Mulch
How to Sell the Whole F#@!ing Universe to Everybody Once and For All!

“My cult is an awesome cult,” says Sir Millard Mulch, who has reportedly mysteriously disappeared, leaving a list of demands that is as outrageous as they are impossible to meet. Sir Mulch devotes almost as much energy in crafting his public image as he does his music. On his website you can find information on his ‘cult,’ send anonymous hate mail, and read his writings, which show much insight into the inner workings of the music industry. As crazy as his personality and image seem to be, apparently he’s pretty down-to-earth in real life (which I find hard to believe judging from pretty much everything he presents for public consumption), and judging from his writings, he’s a very intelligent guy. How to Sell the Whole F#@!ing Universe to Everybody Once and For All is part music, part performance art, and all good.

The title of this album doesn’t shy from letting you know that this album is going to be out of the ordinary. There’s no way “The ultimate guide to social metaphysics for salesmen, artist, magicians and all other types of manipulative fakes and liars” is going to be 40 minutes of pop songs. Song titles like “When the Sales Gods Compute Your Karmic Worth, You Can Join Mystic Brethren in the Center of the Earth” and “What Is the Concept behind this Huge Unlistenable Album” are even more hints to the insanity. The CD booklet contains all kinds of rants about esoteric sales techniques and advertisements for a “Masonic chariot into the internal afterlife,” and the infamous “Maximum Volumizer.” Before you even listen to this two-hour, 3 CD opus, you suspect that afterwards you may question not only Mr. Mulch’s sanity, but your own.

The first listen left me confused and lost, yet thoroughly entertained. This was a good sign, because I expected to only be confused and lost. “What a brilliant lunatic this guy is,” I said to myself. After multiple listens I still think the same, and I still can’t stop noticing similarities to Mr. Bungle and Frank Zappa. As much as Sir Mulch apparently hates being compared to them, I can’t help but make the association. It’s just the way that they approach their music, with tongue firmly in cheek yet still breaking ground as musicians. There’s also the generally insane atmosphere, but one thing’s for sure: Mulch is definitely unique and is doing something that not even Zappa was crazy enough to pull off, and he has too many actual songs to be Mr. Bungle.

Instrumentally, the music is like some sort of mutated prog metal on speed. The drumming is phenomenal — it will seriously blow your mind. There are tons of headache-inducing time signatures and lightning fast solos to go around. Fear not, because melody is not abused. It exists, but in an ultra complex form that’s still fun to hum along to. Mulch credits “a bunch of famous wizards that you’ve never heard of” and they were well-picked, judging by the sheer complexity of the music. The singing is well-suited to the lyrics, not being particularly skillful but using different voices to sing the sermon of Mulch’s satirical magnum opus. Also included are some spoken word segments, many being fake commercials and conversations. Random Dadaist sketches and biting commentaries will yet again call to mind Zappa comparisons, but they provide something unique — not to mention fall on the floor and piss yourself hilarity. “Maximum Volumizer” is my favorite, being a conversation between two stoners about some useless piece of guitar equipment. It’s a brilliant commentary about how people try to sell you things you don’t need and how stupid people buy them. Overall the spoken word parts add to the concept and enjoyment of the album, which isn’t always the case in other artists’ attempts.

So what is the point to this huge waste of time? What is Sir Millard Mulch trying to tell us? Basically it’s commentary on the way people are zombies to a sick corporate mechanism. There are comparisons to the way corporations operate to the ways cults suck in and brainwash members. Artists who try hard to prove to the world that they’re more than just pop musicians or misunderstood artists are attacked. Phony teenagers who fall victim to the rock industry’s pseudo-rebellious image are mocked as well. It’s clear that this guy understands how advertising works, and if you studied this album enough you too could Sell the Whole F#@!ing Universe to Everybody Once and for All.

I can’t guarantee you will like this album, and you’re definitely not guaranteed to understand it. I highly recommend it to Mike Patton, Frank Zappa, and John Zorn fans that are looking for yet another musical adventure. Like it or not, you’re sure to get a few great laughs and maybe even a headache. Or perhaps you’ll be inspired by the lessons learned to start your own guide to esoteric social metaphysics.

Sir Millard Mulch:

Michael Crown