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Tales From the Punchbowl

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Primus’ goofily virtuosic music is a love-it or hate-it proposition: Zappatistas and non-humor-impaired Rush fans lap it up; grungemongers want the band run out of alterna-town. But taken strictly as cybercandy, this enhanced-CD version of the group’s latest album Tales From the Punchbowl is an instant classic. Primus mastermind Les Claypool has always been a multimedia kind of guy, and this disc reflects his gonzo vision rather than mere merchandising. From the surrealistic helm of a tugboat, the user steers to a bunch of colorful islands. Sometimes this leads to a song, sometimes to a game of Pong — there are plenty of surprises. The graphics, which recall Dali and Bosch, are two parts Looney Tunes, one part Beavis & Butthead. Where other mind-blender concoctions often fall flat, Tales packs a punch. A-