Seven That Spells — The Men from Dystopia
(Beta-lactam Ring mt207, 2007, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2009-07-01
Who is the King of the Endless Riff? This Croatian band makes a credible case for their royal status on this release. The five tracks here, named simply with Roman numerals, flow without much delineation from one to the next: first comes seven minutes of essentially tempo-less meandering which builds into the second track, 20 minutes of a two-bar riff topped with all manner of spaced-out trippiness (including a bit of electric sitar) building to part three, where the guitar abandons the riff and shoots off into a wah- wah-drenched solo while the bass frees the riff from the exact repetition. This part is 16-plus minutes of guitar pyromaniac indulgence with a variety of effects spelled by strange vocals and the continuation of the almighty riff. Further developments drop the drums and reduce the riff to a single pounding note overlain by indecipherable sounds apparently including a hurdy-gurdy, reintroduce the drums, devolve to a drone, reprise the riff, and so on. The whole thing is soaked in enough reverb to make Carlsbad Caverns seem positively cramped, and while I know this is a stylistic choice (practically mandatory for this kind of music) I can’t help thinking that the pummeling riffs would actually have more impact on the listener if they were more distinct. Or maybe less blurring would expose the listener more directly to the fact that these guys are jamming on one chord for more than an hour. Fans of Acid Mothers Temple and similar psychedelic noise-masters take note.
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more