Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Hyperactive headspace

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Before this gets all messy, here are the particulars: one CD, 60 minutes worth of material, five cuts, each with the same title, each offering wildly divergent takes on free-improv psychedelic rawk. All made by three men playing or deploying guitar, vocals, drums and a handful of other implements and effects and processes. Sometimes there is what one might call structure, a hanging beat, a riff and vocal together enough to make it all seem oddly familiar. Most of the time, though, this familiarity is turned on itself till the songs willfully dissolve into the sound track for free-form eyelid movies. So there’s that.

Sometimes Gravitar is a gamelan orchestra as heard through AM static. But just as quickly, it’s an amorphous feeling of drowsy dread.

Variations on a theme? Yeah. There’s a two-headed beast at work here. On the low half of the volume knob, FJAWFNGP is (nearly) a soothing, certainly hypnotic ebb and flow of crashes, washes, bubbles and wandering anti-melody. Turn the volume knob to the right and the detail comes into focus: It’s percussion everywhere, from the buried vocals and their dying-man-singing attack to the necessarily nonlinear guitar blasts, waves of overdrive and the synaptically challenged marching band improv drums ‘n’ cymbals. Or something like that.

See, when you cut away all the narrative constraints of rock, but keep the juice running and the mind racing, you get this Sabbathstoogebuttholesurfed distillate of hyperactive headspace strapped to a homemade mother ship. Or something like that.

One hour, five ticks on your CD player (a handful of movements?). Take it or leave it, but you likely can’t ignore it.

E-mail Chris Handyside at [email protected].


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