Monday, August 18, 2008

Christian Science Minotaur – Map 1 (of 9) [Little Fury Things]/Christian Science Minotaur – Map 2 (of 9) [Little Fury Things]

Christian Science Minotaur is one of my favorite joke band names, and like all the best bands with joke band names, Christian Science Minotaur’s music is serious and seriously great. These are the first two installments of a nine part series—as I’m sure you gathered—and both are excellent.
Map 1
consists of 3 tracks and would actually be short enough to fit on a 3incher. Nevermind that however. CSM reminds me of my favorite non-Charalambides Tom Carter project Spiderwebs, and on average I think they might even eclipse that project. There’s no info about the Minotaur’s membership on either release so I’m gonna guess it’s two people playing heavily reverbed, clean-toned guitar. That is what it sounds like at least. The first track “Benji” is rather airy, floating by rather quickly though not before hitting all the proper pleasure buttons in my brain. I’m sort of a sucker for this kinda stuff but Christian Science Minotaur do it about the best I’ve heard it done. The second track “Ooh Doo Daa” is the immediate standout. It is loveliness taken to the extreme and improvised on guitar. It commences with two guitars each playing their own improv’d cyclical melodies. The atmosphere present on the previous track gradually filters in. This is a hard track to put into words because you can’t really. What’s so great about it is exactly what language fails to capture—the subliminal beauty that can occur when certain sounds are placed next to others. Sorry for my failing at my part here but that’s all I can give you. The last track is a quick little ditty called “Pappy Drumb” with a nice repeating melody and a strange sound in the background that sounds like a heavily processed and cut up duck quacking. I don’t know, weird but cool. Although Map 1 is relatively short, it is pretty much endlessly playable and there is no fat to be found anywhere, which I’ll take over an overlong release any day.

The full-length, Map 2, puts its best foot forward with “Cancun”. “Cancun” is like what Cancun is cracked up to be—a warm, sunny paradise. It’s a tough call to say whether this or “Ooh Doo Daa” would win in a showdown so I’ll just say they are equally matched. “Cancun” has a more composed or collected nature as it unfurls it’s limbs. One guitar works from a pretty arpeggio and the other dances and glides around it. There also a bit more emotion or longing tied into it than rest of the tracks on Map 1 or 2. Another glistening piece of gold. “Little Women” follows at more than twice the length “Cancun”. Here the typically excellent sonic glimmer is met with is strange hard panned alien guitar noises conjuring a not-quite-eerie not-quite-somber but still affecting mood. Around halfway through those alien noises takeover completely and, though it takes a minute to find it’s footing, the rest of track takes on a bit of calmed down Bill Nace vibe. “Isn’t it a Pity” goes straight for that bittersweet “awww” jugular in it’s 3 minutes and finds complete success. So far all of these tracks would be perfect in conjunction with a visual component perhaps a route CSM should explore. “Foosball” is an ominous, minimal piece that initially left me a little cold but I have since warmed up to. One guitar mimics the string pad setting on a keyboard while the other uses it’s six-string for all its percussive potential. The extended “Mysteron” finishes off the cd-r. Christian Science Minotaur takes it up a notch with this one, exploring and expanding upon the sound/style they’ve already perfected. Whereas their previous highlights focused on a semi-repetitive melody, “Mysteron” takes you on a placid, silver-streaked ride that, at ten minutes, doesn’t end a moment too late. The forty seconds in particular contain a wonderful, all-too-brief tremolo’d melody. Sign me up for Map 3.
Little Fury Things gives off a nice vibe with their packaging—there’s a certain enthusiasm and ingenuity to it. Like how Map 2 looks like a totally professional printed cardboard slipcase but it’s actually just a piece expertly designed/folded textured paper. Or how each of these cd-rs are colored with color pencil. I dig the thought of Nat (the guy behind it all) hanging out and coloring each cd-r himself; that’s dedication. Both releases are still in stock for cheap (3-5 dollars) and you can also download Map 1 digitally for a measly dollar.


Anonymous said...

It's nice to see you stepping it up in a time when it seems lots of reviewers have slowed down!

DALETH said...

Awesome blog! Would you be interested / mind posting some of the DALETH (my "one man" sludge band) material? Here are the tracks from the Blue Shift split, and another release entitled, "Lusitania." Check it out and let me know what you think! Here are the links: (Daleth - Split w/ Blue Shift; Daleth tracks only) (Daleth - "Lusitania")

Some other relative links: (myspace)
(website) (label site)

Thanks in advance!

Joe / Daleth

vangaurd said...

looks intresting.

vangaurd said...