[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
My first introduction into the world of CDG came in 2007 when a copy of his album ‘Giant Man Giant Plan’ appeared in the post, it was unlike anything I’d heard in the realm of “spoken word”. For many, this new release is going to be their entry point into what he does; don’t bother trying to categorize what comes out of his head, there’s a methodology employed here which exists only between his two ears. I’m told he’s known to the locals in his area and they all revere what he does. So just what is it that he does do and why is it that he’s known to so few, when there’s an entire planet out there (especially Hollywood) who would benefit immensely from his work.
He’s a prophet, this man. Armed only with a cassette deck, Dennis put these visions and songs into magnetic storage for decades; listen up closely and you’ll hear time passing by via the tunes on the radio he sometimes sings along to but more often than not sings over. He invents his own melodies, his own choruses and his own meter. I can pick out The Smiths being sidemen to him as well as the Thompson Twins; there’s the brief pocket of 1980 or 1981 he captures by recording the Plasticman adventure/comedy hour’s advertisement jingle. I remember watching it, I had no idea that somewhere… far across the ocean, another sort of fan was, too. But he was indexing culture, not just gobbling fruity pebbles and bouncing off the walls. I doubt anyone was telling him to turn it down, either.
There’s his ode to the video game 1942, his bizarrely touching renditions of what sound like British Empire songs and then later a very odd lyrical coupling which simply states “He’ll soon be after you/Bennington Stew”. There is no such stew though! Perhaps that’s the point but if it is simply just one man delineating his own private terrarium then why oh why is it that we only get to see it now, especially when entire sections have literally crumbled off the spool. This might put a few off but Mordant Music, rogues that they are, have chosen not to clean any of this up. So when you play through these tapes, you will hear them as the label heard them: coming apart at the seams. How far back do they go and just how long has Den been doing this; this album gives no answers preferring to expand your frame of reference instead of defining it.
Most tellingly, there’s an interlude where Greenidge talks about Texas. He doesn’t rail against those who live in it or the history of the place, he views it as a cafe. Breakfast in Texas, milkshakes… alright. This right here is a prime example of the sort of individualistic expression he revels in, where everyone else’s opinion means nothing and it all boils down to the enjoyment of simple pleasures. It all might be going to hell outside, but step through the door and pull up a chair. Listen to the man with the cosmic plan, his pursuit of rhyme has somehow gotten crossed with a strain of reason so outside the norm and so beyond “serious” analysis that I think soon it will achieve a sentience of it’s own.
The language is already there, he’s laid the groundwork. These tapes are raw and uncut, I feel like an audience member witnessing an art form which has only begun to reveal it’s full potential; this guy is a composer who plays his tape deck like Bach or Beethoven at their piano. Stop, pause, play, rewind, fast forward and most importantly: record. Record it all. One never knows when the ordinary will become a defining moment in history and so Dennis archives from his lair in England, snaring radio waves and television broadcasts in bits and pieces… wringing out the hidden meanings for himself and hopefully us.