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Serious Fun pride themselves on playing with no charts, never playing the same song the same way twice, and working with pure imagination. They bring a diverse background from the genres of classical, jazz, folk, rock, blues and world musics. The one key element is that it is all imbued with a healthy dose of serious fun!.


New Jersey’s own Serious Fun features the original poetry of John Hammel (vocals, harmonica, melodica) supported via improvisational music courtesy of Peter Biedermann (electric & acoustic guitars, electronics) and Anthony LaMort (keyboards, electronics, sampling). This is a trio whose music defies easy categorization: neither ‘jazz’ by any stretch, or anywhere near ‘rock’ music or even something resembling what most would consider to be strictly ‘electronic’ by nature. Serious Fun wipe out, in one fell swoop, the boundaries between contemporary experimental music’s.

Hammel’s gothic homespun poetry, equal parts Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Jim Morrison and Robert Wyatt, positively aches throughout the guitar-webbed sound world Biedermann cooks up, spiced considerably by LaMort’s unorthodox synth & mysterioso keyboard accompaniments. Call it ‘avant-Americana, if you will – this is the stuff of fever dreams hatched by auteurs David Lynch and Derek Jarman, writ into a kind of Grand Guignol aural noir.

The thrust of Serious Fun can be found on their two recordings, The Red House Panties and An American Anthem. The Red House features work penned by Hammel during the early 1990’s in a purgative burst after spending approximately three years immersed in the works of novelists such as James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, and James Ellroy. Hammel channels the seedier undercurrents of the American experience vis his smoked pressure cooker voice and narrations and ghostly harmonica, while band mates Biedermann and LaMort sort and sift through varying patterns of near Frippian-guitaroid menace and subversive analog burbles that act like sonic earworms gnawing into the psyche.

The second cd (An American Anthem) is a continuation and more adventurous journey over the precipice of hope and despair with its illumination of the edgier elements of the American soul. Serious Fun explores and exploits, lyrically and sonically, the cultural macrocosmic soup that makes America one of the most imitated, revered and paradoxically reviled cultures on the planet. Yet the group strains towards and eventually reaches an epiphany and catharsis on the last track, Portal to Paradise, in which spiritual peace and an inner fulfillment are finally attained in the recognition that the path to serenity lies in acceptance of our place in the fabric of the universal whole.

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