Mandragora Records
P.O. Box 219
Greenfield, MA 01302
Trading The Witch For The Devil
Robot vs. Rabbit

56 min. CD
$12.00 USD

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1. jesus told you so
2. hiroshima [mp3]
3. I have been an axe in the hand
4. because his art is slender as his youth
5. to avert ones eyes [mp3]
6. la bruja
7. kuate palace - three piece suite [mp3]
8. train1: kamp
9. waltzing towards the ovens
10. pneumonia
11. what is sharper than the sword
12. a joyful noise [mp3]
13. painted men / yarmar uprising
14. the master's on his way

recorded, edited, mixed, & mastered at the rabbot manufacturing facility #2
samples and photos from undisclosed sources
all compostions by rvr
(c)2002 rabbot recordings/mandragora
robot vs. rabbit - garrett gentry, mark hepp, tim killough

The only full-length CD from the now-defunct North Carolina psychonauts. Unholy mix of HEAVY stoner doom guitar mangling ala Sunn0))), Boris or Skullflower shat through the first-wave Industrial creep of Throbbing Gristle, Factrix, or SPK. A true underground ocCult classic in every sense, TWFD has become notorious for its bad mojo, unleashing spirits and prying open that astral door a little furthur with each spin of the disc.

Arcane Mazatec salvia chants transformed into electronic hum and murk. Basement ooze merges into tangled mandalas under the glowing green light. Explore the infinite shades of feedback.


Crucial - 3/4/06
"Here's the sole full length from long-gone North Carolina amplifier thugs Robot Vs. Rabbit, a massive 56 minute blowout of satanic feedback deathdrone and mangled occult dirge riffage that takes the heaviest powerdrones of Sunn O))), Skullflower, and Boris, dunks them in black oil, and runs it through the industrial creep of Throbbing Gristle, Factrix, or SPK. These are some of the murkiest speaker tones to hit our ears, total black basement amp chant and low-end feedback stroke that washes over you like a dead tide, but propelled sideways by chattering, smoking tape loops and obscured Japanese traditional melodies. Yep, Trading The Witch For The Devil is a high point in evil primitive psychedelic sludge, and the more we bomb our skulls with this album, the more we realize that this is like a kosmiche black-mass take on the missing link between the Midwestern noise skulk heralded by the likes of Wolf Eyes, Universal Indians, Hair Police, Gravitar... etc., Skullflower at their most brutal, the eeevil tarpit hate of Southern Lord's most extreme artists (Sunn O))), Khanate, etc), and the dense walls of sound of Soundtracks era SWANS. This concept will no doubt get many of you hot n' bothered, as it well should. This is definitely our favorite of the recent stack of Mandragora releases we just landed our mitts on, psychedelic and metallic, heavy as fuck but totally amorphous and otherwordly and evil."

The Broken Face - Issue #15
The Broken Face website
"So some people think that Robot vs. Rabbit isn't the greatest name for an atonal drone/noise rock band. Maybe I wasn't that impressed with the philosophical possibilities when I first heard it myself, but after some time with their official debut on the Mandragora label, not to mention the handful of self-released cd-r's that've preceded it, I'm starting to think no other name would quite do the trick. The music this ensemble makes is disturbing in the true sense of the word. If any recurring theme can be traced throughout TWFD, it's the utter annihilation of innocence in any form. Song titles like "Hiroshima." I Have Been an Axe in the Hand," and "Waltzing Towards the Ovens" pretty much tell you everything you need to know. Detuned guitars squelch and shriek against low-end bass waves, tapes and synth noise with fireballs of distortion and grungy feedback bouncing around inside the mix like a cat trapped in a cage. Sure it's harsh and cruel to say the least, but interspersed throughout are occasional and unexpected forays into more transcendental realms, offering slight slight shelter from the mostly raging black seas that dominate this pulsating mélange. The final results fall somewhere between Throbbing Gristle, HNAS and Skullflower, or The Dead C, Chrome and Merzbow, or ... you get the idea. This inspired piece of work is easily the finest these lads have delivered to date. A necessary listening experience to any fans of creeping crawling noise terror." - Lee Jackson

Splendid E-zine (1/10/03)
"Goat-headed devil woman with star pasties on her nipples? Check. Droning noise and conversations played backwards, the shrieks of sacrificial lambs and ladies alike? No sir, not quite. Negative preconceptions about this disc -- so unwholesome did it look that I was compelled to listen to it just to get it off my pile -- were unjustified. Instead, one might think of Trading the Witch for the Devil as a kind of meditative exercise for persons indifferent as to the nature of the spirits they attract.
The droning noise is there, I'll admit. Walls of feedback, "found noise", ethnic instruments and melodies, all hinged to tribal drums and ancient chants that form a murky, unsettling and yet captivating whole. "Hiroshima" meshes a traditional Japanese theme with speaker-crushing feedback that deaden the senses from the word go. Driving through a frozen winter wonderland, in which the highway was so backed up I had to drive the scenic route to work, a bizarre sense of peace and natural attunement came over me while I subjected myself to the Robot Vs Rabbit aesthetic. While pure noise bands routinely piss me off, thus betraying a heretofore unadmitted-to subconscious desire for some kind of structure in my life, RVR avoid that nasty comparison by providing a bed of drums upon which the remainder of the disorienting venture rests. Thus, as long as the white noise of "Because His Art Is as Slender as His Youth" and the assimilated koto bells of "Kuate Palace - Three Piece Suite" are couched in the familiar, they become easier to comprehend, study, understand. It also makes it easier to let the entire disc wash over you, clearing your mind and allowing it to wander. There's even a Sonic Youth nod on "What Is Sharper Than the Sword", bringing the disc full circle from headfuck to homage. While not for everyone -- and certainly not for those with sound systems as dangerously misaligned as my computer's apparently is, judging by the way I nearly deafened myself while typing this review (sounded great in my car) -- Robot Vs Rabbit make genre-bending, appropriateness-challenging music that only sounds dangerous because it's loud and unwieldy. Of course, if it frees the mind long enough to foster independent thought, perhaps it is dangerous..." -- Justin Kownacki

The Brainwashed Brain V05I49 (12/22/02)
"I am a sucker for evil primitive psychedelic sludge. This obscure North Carolina crew is banking on the fact that there will be one of me born every minute to buy their records. Anchored steadfast in the darker registers of sound and philosophies, this band makes a lot from a little, suctioning tribal rhythms and fierce winds through staticky burlap. This is unintended ghost voice recordings type of stuff—lots of reversed sounds for the backmasking fans out there. Many bands/musicians out there could take a lesson in heavy atmosphere from these guys. If you are looking for points of reference, I'd say somewhere between Gravitar and early scary Current 93 (sans vocals). They do have a unique sound, though, and an impressive range over the 14 tracks on this CD. My only complaint is that some of the best musical ideas are cut short - I would love to see them expanded live." - Jesse Niemenen

Dead Angel #54 (11/02)
"From Mandragora comes more sonic filth with poignant, sensitive artwork of naked chicks with goat heads. This is loud, disturbed deathdrone from the word go. Three guys from North Carolina more or less in Thrones mode churn out grotesque slabs of dissonant guitar noise (big, squealing stuck-pig mojo in hideously dissonant intervals, just like the dude with the excruciating guitar tone in the sadly-lamented Arab on Radar) on grating, intimidating spoo like "jesus told you so," "hiroshima," and "what is sharper than the sword," and the rest of the time they drone 'n churn like the bad thoughts of the alien creeping in the bowels of the Nostronomo. (Remember, in space no one can hear you scream because the soundtrack's too loud.) A lot of these tracks feature any number of other unexpected instruments (piano, etc.) for dramatic effect, but the streetcleaner sounds are the main meat o' the enchilada here. Some of the more hypnotic moments ("I have been an axe in the hand," for instance) suggest what Pink Floyd might have become had Syd not fried his central nervous system, and "to avert ones eyes" suggests that they aren't solely reliant on volume and aggression for the production of their otherworldly doom. Some of this borders on the purely scary, like "kuate palace -- three piece suite," which starts of like the sound of soldiers marching off to war before turning into a forbidding martial psychodrone, from there on spiraling even deeper into dark psychosis. Through all the different moods of the piece, chanting vocals lend it an otherworldly aspect, like the sound of having stumbled onto a ritual for rising the Elder Gods or something equally creeped-out. I particularly like the droning flutes at the beginning of "painted men / yarmar uprising" -- the flutes that eventually swallowed by the growing thunder-drone that gradually dominates. They even wallow in the dark-ambient trough with the appropriately downed-out closer "the master's on his way," all black wind and shuddering drone and the vague but chilling sound of goat-lords convening in the background. Possibly a tad Melvins-oriented for the purists, but we approve nonetheless (their deathbleat is at least more consistent, to be sure)." (8/23/02)
"I've been inwardly smiling about the band name Robot Vs Rabbit for a while since coming across it via an earlier news posting on Seeing this CDR in the pile from Mandragoria then was a nice welcome, especially with the non-sequiter Slayer type goat lord gracing the cover. Turns out that these folks have more going for them than a catchy moniker and cheeky artwork. They be bad like acid, good as in shit. Moldy bread weird, more than a little psychotic and difficult to get off your skin even if you use that caustic soap found in truck stop restrooms.
Robot Vs Rabbit rut around in a Skullflower scented vat of feedback and reverb drone with unseen ghosts of early Sonic Youth and perhaps even the Residents cavorting around the outside, clanging bits of metal and glass maniacally against the cast iron walls. The sonics here bubble up like a third eye in gummy worm ridden electric jello, the coloured smoke thick and acrid and if you close your eyes for more than a second the room will start to spin away from you. It's not religious sounding but it has that same energy, the feverish flame that lights up the eyes of a street preacher or the venomous glee of an Ozark snake charmer as they get posessed by their off the scale seratonin levels. The little hairs on the back of your neck will be asking for danger pay by the end of this release that's for sure.
Instrumentation is also pretty unusual in that everything sounds like a single location recording but considering that there are both conventional instruments like percussion as well as sample fodder like blasting wind, it is doubtful that these folks hauled their drumkit up to the top of the Himalayas just to record this CDR. Some tracks like the opener "Jesus Told You So" sound more plausible since eveyone can imagine piano, junk percussion and vocals being in the same room and "trainl: kamp" may be winding up into a claustrophobic vortex of bell like tones but you can tell that there are still humans nearby and that they have tangible instruments plugged in actual power outlets. Others like "waltzing towards the oven" however could have been recorded in a subway tunnel by wandering hippy undead, no spare changing mind you but a face full of rotten teeth and a chorus of cackling "Hey Man"'s to send you screaming in terror. There is even a lucid LSD reference in amongst the sawed off church bells and bowed cymbals, the moment of calm awareness when you realize that your medication has been replaced with brown M&Ms and you are in fact totally bonkers.
For me, the strangest feeling here is one of total authenticity. I'm not sure why I feel this way or what it even means really but listening to "Trading the witch for the devil" just seems like the real thing, no academic justifcation or talk of motivations - just pure "what the fuck is happening to me?" underskin bug crawl in a compact audio format. Sincerity though better chemistry. I'm just a little bit afraid of it even, as if just the action of listening will alone be enough to conjur up some bad DMT boogie monster to come whisk away my current sobriety and drag me down into a writhing pit of shirtless, shoeless freakout madness. The production is totally raw as are the edits, blindfolded this CDR could easily be taken for a C-60 or 8-track even. But one thing for sure, this is not casual listening and if you don't respect it, you just might not come back from the party with all your artichokes in a straight line. Strong stuff. " - moron (7/2/02)
"Robot vs. Rabbit have a lot going on. The have some slaying deep down feedback bass tones much along the lines of Sunn...the heavy drone and thick vibrations...
Drone is a good way to explain it. It's almost like free-form jazz in a sense- being that it sounds like long drawn out jams full of noisy samples- deep long bass tones and almost tribal rhythms using various percussive intstuments. Minimal vocals (none really) and all about sounds. Pretty good background music really. If you have ever heard of a band called 'Jackie O' Motherfucker' and dig them, chance are that Robot vs. Rabbit will be right up your alley.
Get this CD if you are into experimental music that reminds me at times like Tibetan Monks, or at others like a sonic soundscape right out of a science-fiction novel. Great music for this style, you don't hear many bands pulling it off to this extent. Not for everyone though. If you like spatial music with little structure, check it out." - Rob Wrong

Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
"Those of you who have read my earlier Robot vs Rabbit reviews (see AI #'s 16 & 17) will know that I've enjoyed the band's brand of improvised aggressive noise-psychedelia, my only real criticism being that they have difficulty carrying off lengthy excursions. So the first thing I noticed when I read over the track listing on Trading The Witch For The Devil is that 5 of the CD's 14 tracks are in the 2 minute and under range, and the lengthiest track is only 7 minutes. And indeed Robot vs Rabbit make much more concise and well thought out statements on this album while still allowing themselves the necessary room to develop the music. But what makes this their strongest release to date, of the albums I've heard, is the cooperation, contrast, and blending of noise and ambient elements. Sometimes I couldn't tell whether I was hearing aggression or pleasing cosmic psychedelia. Well... the aggression really wins out but I did enjoy the incorporation of more traditional floating psychedelic ingredients, as well as the healthy doses of avant-garde free-improv noise and ambient workouts.
Among the standout tracks on the CD is "Hiroshima". The music starts with a relaxing koto sounding bit, but very quickly dissolves into a dissonant wall of noise drone. It's like a noise-psych version of Stoner Rock, which is a bad analogy but the low thudding bass (or is it guitar?) near the beginning gives it that kind of feel. In any event, this is some seriously psychotic psychedelia and the band do an impressive job of blasting out brain shattering guitar hostility that is varied and includes individual sounds that are more distinct amidst the clutter than I've noticed on their previous releases. "La Bruja" is another cool track that brought to mind a paranoid schizophrenic African percussion ensemble on acid. Interesting drum patterns provide the foundation for this piece, with brain piercing space-noise guitar oozing a pulsating cacophony of sonic swirl. Be brave and put on the headphones and you'll realize that despite the fact that your brain is in agony that there's really an ambient quality to the music... in a twisted less-than-meditative way.
"Kuate Palace - Three Piece Suite" features even more intriguing percussion parts. Relative to much of Robot vs Rabbit's music this is pretty trippy stuff. We have the expected drones and of course there's an element of noise, but there's also a powerful cosmic quality as the drone has a didgeridoo sound to it that acts as a mantra to focus on, and the music just kind of floats along like an Eastern influenced psych tune. I really dig "Pneumonia" which is like a harsher version of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive". And "Painted Men / Yarmar Uprising" is a total psychedelic freakout with wild loops and a general roller coaster ride acid trip feel.
In summary, this is easily the best album I've heard from Robot vs Rabbit yet. The harsh noise elements that characterizes their music are as prominent as ever, but they also incorporate lots of more conventional cosmic styled psychedelia which I think has made them a stronger unit, the music more varied, and certainly more palatable." - Jerry Kranitz - 4/17/02
"The field of drone/noise is becoming hot. While still largely uncharted territory, those leading the advance such as Robot vs. Rabbit, Porn, Sunn 0))), Khanate, Boris, Merzbow and such are braving the sting of rejection for this form of music. It's not something that you're going to tap your foot too, or hum along in the shower. This is strictly a cerebral experience. Diverse elements coming together to communicate in a totally new jazz dialectic. Bass, vocals, drums, guitar and synth are simply one of the many tools of the craft, not the mainstays of what we consider music.
North Carolina's Robot vs Rabbit have added elements to this genre that I haven't heard before, but can't put my finger on in terms of description. Their armory of musical instruments is extensive... the aforementioned bass, vocals, drums, guitar and synth are augmented by several variations of these instruments, as well as trumpets, clarinets, polish harps (whatever the heck that is!), computers and even household appliances. The effect alternates between elating and chilling, hypnotic and disruptive.
It's obvious that Robot vs. Rabbit and their ilk are not going to appeal to everyone. Put the people that get it, are hooked. The nontraditional communication between musicians is overwhelmingly compelling as it is challenging. The overall experience is head music for the '00s in the way Pink Floyd was back in times past." - Chris Barnes

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