Here are some reactions to "Fez Dispenser":
-Excerpt from issue #230 of Aiding and Abetting zine-
"Those of you looking for electronic beat work inside a jazz idiom need search no more. Fez Dispenser blows out its grooves in a full-on fusion attack, waxing smooth and blistering as necessary.
That's smooth in the delivery, not "smooth jazz." These guys turn out one impressive piece after another, never falling into a repetitive rut. Full marks for originality.
Just enough of a hip-hop edge to the beats to keep the joints jumpin'. Fez Dispenser uses everything at its disposal (samples, drum machines, guitars and more) to create complete aural snapshots. The texture within these songs is amazing.
A fine disc for your next party. Cool enough that it won't scare off the less adventurous in your crowd, but stylish enough to impress even the most imperious music snob (like, say, me). Quality and then some."
From" John Bennet
"fez dispenser - looking around the CD Baby web site I found your music. It has very interesting, fun rhythms. If I could summarize what I think in a word, it'd be "wheeeeeeee," which is a good thing."
Splendid zine writes
Skin & Barrel
Album covers can be deceptive. Take a good, long look at the image on the left. If you're like me, you assumed that this disc would be an obnoxious suburban pop-punk band's waste of allowance money. Expecting just that, I put the album into my stereo, pressed the play button and, for the first time in my life, had one of those comic-book thoughts that was all punctuation -- sort of a "???????"
Fez Dispenser is not three-chord nonsense about girls and fake IDs. It is, if you can believe this, some kind of funky, pseudo-abstract jazz creature with Latin percussion and hip-hop beats. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.
Matt Thorne is a California-based producer, and the brains behind Fez Dispenser and this, if you pardon the out-dated expression, "wicked-cool" compilation of influences and arrangements. The album is primarily guitar-based; Thorne will switch from a fairly standard bop guitar in a track like "Thank You Would Have Done Nicely" to a slightly-distorted post-rock-by-way-of-Chicago on "Smoothin'".Either way, these are some great songs, a wonderful combination of smooth grooves and fiery abstraction, and you won't be sure whether to sit still and bob your head or run around the room knocking things over and shaking your money maker, as it were.
"Grease Slick" is one of my favorite tracks here. It's instrumental, as they all are, but you'll hardly even notice, as the slick lounge chops slide along as effortlessly as any quality vocals. Behind the guitar and the occasional brass interruption,abstract, layered hip-hop beats and scattered sound effects provide the difference between doctor's office "lite jazz" and smoky funk.
Immediately following "Grease Slick" is another highlight -- the track named after the band itself. "Fez Dispenser" seamlessly combines the Latin percussion with those same urban grooves, leaving the jazz guitar outside and fully embracing the quality electronic scheme. It's as if robots from the future took over Telemundo with the sole purpose of making some crazy music -- and then one of them started playing a sitar.
Folks, I'm not lying when I tell you that this is probably the best album I've had the pleasure of reviewing so far. Even its less-than-stellar tracks, like "He Speaks" or "Everything Works", are at least decent, and do not detract from the incredible flow that Fez Dispenser creates; the atmospheric "Watch For Falling Doors" alone is worth whatever this disc actually costs. I strongly recommend checking this out -- it's a great end-of-summer chill album. -- Kevin White
"Fez Dispenser is not beholden to anyone, and that evidences itself in the music. Fez Dispenser is Creativity. Fez Dispenser is Different. Fez Dispenser - it's not just for breakfast anymore - take two with any meal."
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (david burton)
"I smiled, tapped my foot, replayed again and again then some more.I have sent copys to all my friends. YOU ROCK !!!"
From: John M Peters reviewer for Theborderland.com
Fez Dispenser - Fez Dispenser (Skin & Barrel Music SNB004)
"...Fez Dispenser is a "jazz influenced, abstract, post-hip-hop project". The brains behind the project is composer/musician Matt A.Thorne, who also records under the name 'Psychic Enemies Network'. The fifteen tracks on the album certainly reflect a variety of influences - the mandatory drum machines are layered with an assortment
of jazz-influenced samples and loops, and this definitely makes for an enriched variety of tracks: Smoothin' and Castillian Fennel Dub are good showcases for this. The bongo-rich Yet Again, with its Frippertronic-style
guitar riffing, is another goodie rising above the expected hip-hop cliches.
In reality this album is a rich exploratory lode of imaginative sound manipulation. Matt Thorne has turned the perceived expectations of hip hop on its head and taken several unexpected leaps of imagination, using a rich
library of sound elements: gamelans, latin percussion, Hammond organs, saxophones, and probably even the kitchen sink! I'm by no means a big fan of hip hop but if this is what it is evolving into then perhaps I should
explore some more. Recommended!"
From: Bob Lane
Date: 01-22-2002 16:16:05
Subject: what a sound
"This is great. found it on the web and loved it. ya don't sound like an aggie....bob 72421"
Mark Weddle of 'BrainWashed' writes:
Fez Dispenser is Matt Thorne, one of two brothers that make up Psychic Enemies Network. With this project he dissolves the darkness and artfully expands upon the eclecticism already found in PEN's work (see also "Valis"). Fifteen instrumentals freely juxtapose played and programmed genre elements within tracks and track to track. But in the slick guitar riffs, vibes and grooves a jazz influence represents throughout. Thorne seems to be striving for songs that mix things up so much as to defy all pigeonholing and, more importantly, are just plain fun to play and listen to. Drum and bass backdrops the busy jammin' of "Thank You Would've Done Nicely" while horn-y dub and hazy dub make up "Castillian Fennel Dub" and "Really I Do", respectively. "Smoothin'" slips into overdriven overdrive with a stompin' spy thriller theme and "Watch for Falling Doors" percussively jazzes it up, both reminding me of Barry Adamson's recent imaginary soundtracks. Hip Hop beats and breaks add flava here and there, especially in "Everything Works", while the title track sets up camp near Muslimgauze territories. "He Speaks" dips into electronic whimsy a la The Orb with cute samples of helpful English phrases. "Lake Placidyl" offers a short-term treatment for insomnia with a slow moving quasi-psychedelic lullaby. And just to make absolutely sure I walk away happy, the lovely Stars of the Lid-like "And Fade" conjures up similar tired sounds as a finale. A little bit of everything goes a long way ...
From: Sam Dunn
Date: 11-02-2000 10:58:31
Subject: bring on da funk, da groove
"Man, who says electronica has no SOUL. What an addictive and oddly compelling mix. I just played "Yet Again" about four times. Highly recommended. 58034"
From: Jon P Andersen
Date: 10-18-2001 21:04:50
"Wow.. You have it sowed up..
No words can describe what I just heard.."
From: Big Brother
Date: 10-13-2001 16:09:54
Subject: Influence is everything
"A new high in Acid Jazz..."