Like most key figures in the Antipodean noise scene, Chris Smith exists in the adventurous-musician nethersphere: hailed by followers, unknown to most. Though he has released a few solo albums, played in groups like The Golden Lifestyle Band and Library Punx, and co-released recordings with Peter Jefferies, his only release outside of his country was 2002’s Map Ends: 1995-2001 (Emperor Jones). Bad Orchestra is from 2007, and aside from a small CD run on Death Valley, didn’t get the opportunity to turn heads. Thankfully, Hermit Hut has taken on the mission of releasing vinyl of this impossible-to-find album.
Bad Orchestra is Smith’s masterpiece, a maelstrom of expansive guitar abstractions, sound collage and full-out rocking. Recorded with a band, the album touches many tangents while converging as a glorious whole. Initially inspired, surprisingly enough, by The Germs, Smith creates music as a solution to his own inner turmoil. He captures an essential rawness on par with Jim Shepard. Bad Orchestra is an assault that is wrought with skill. Every listen unearths new treasures and dynamics.