Thursday, June 30, 2011
To call this album "a work years in the making" might sound like a trite description to create some sort of grandeur but I assure you, its just plain true. After anticipating this release for three years, guitarist Shane Perlowin finally put it in my hands.
Perlowin and percussionist/samplist extraordinaire James Owen were patient in letting us in on their incredibly eclectic ideas. Having heard some of these compositions live and being impressed each time, I still wasn't prepared for the studio treatment of the material.
Both musicians have been staples on the Asheville, North Carolina music scene for over a decade. Always interesting and charismatic players, this duo has finally unveiled a magical recording that is as playful as it is cerebral.
"Food for the New State" begins with a pastiche of birds singing along with bursts of industrial noise. This softly builds into lovely classical-flavored acoustic guitar paired with ghostly echoing vocals creating a gorgeous though ominous soundscape that culminates in a loop of what sounds like a massive street riot. with "Prayer for Collapsing Economies" we're transported into more straight ahead terrain. A punchy and groovy drumkit rhythm meets African feeling guitar melodies in a somewhat familiar pop and rock structure.
"Big Other" is the beast on this record. Acoustic and electric guitars loop and loop again, together with soft and unassuming percussion, delicately plodding toward a yet unseen destination. Like one slow and long panning film take, we wait until about seven minutes in, the cacaphonous assembly is fiercely unleashed and just like that...its gone.
"Horvat Jerusalem" is a paricularly dark minor number that ventures into jazz territory with accordion and horns in a middle eastern vein. This is the most engaging track on the album, with brilliant and mature compositional skills and overtly political subject matter without having to verbalize as much. The piece has a Muslim Gauze-like militance that I find captivating. "Drmfdbk" is an unexpectedly vicious and noisy track that leads up to nasty skronking sax and bowed bass. The closer "Die alone" begins in an almost shoegaze approach with more of the haunting vocal sampling and mellow electric guitar. Eventually, an almost meditative chanting appears out of the ether, part ancient funeral march, part praise song.
This album is about to get a lot of press but it will not receive as much as it deserves. A must have. CD available now. Get It Here
Look for the vinyl soon.