Monday, October 26, 2009

Grasshopper - Wretched Blood Wraith [Obsolete Units]/Waterside Gala - Composure & Recreation [Roll Over Rover]

Got a couple of jazz-inspired (emphasis on the "-inspired") tapes recently and figured I'd them throw together and kill a couple birds with one stone.
So actually I'm not sure you can mention "jazz" in the vicinity of this Grasshopper tape because it's full of some of the thickest, most steamrollin' drones I've ever heard. It's a duo of trumpet players though so they must've played jazz at some point right? Anyway I'm getting off topic. The topic is of course that this tape totally RULES. It's so heavy and oppressive without actually being that abrasive in any way. The two guys weave filtered sonics into a fucking dense, maniacally zombie-like tapestry on the first side, "Regal Blood Wraith". It sounds like there's maybe some garbled speech in there too but I may be hearing things, the point being there are so many things going on it's difficult to wrap your brain around it.
So basically my vocabulary is not capable of describing how brilliant this piece of music is to you but the piece just keeps getting more massive, more swollen, more terrifying. The sonic equivalent of the Blob basically. This is some Yellow Swans-level shit, these Grasshopper guys know what the fuck they are doing. Simply incredible. I know which jam I'll be pumping when Halloween rolls around this Saturday.
That was just the first side, "The Langoliers" takes up the flip and it's equally as good. From the get-go the piece contains infinitely more hope than "Regal Blood Wraith". The tones are brighter, there's spacey synth-esque sounds and a soaring processed trumpet melody. That is until a killer, deep melodic undertow starts up and the piece locks into a great hypnotic groove. The piece achieves a strange, pulsing beauty and it feels just wonderful to bask in the sounds and it's pretty great how the piece just keeps getting better and better and better. It's also nice that they put the uplifting track after the (awesome) trek through hell of the first side so you end feeling at peace with the world.
With this tape I have discovered one of my new favorite bands. Get this immediately.
Waterside Gala (not a diss, but wouldn't have Waterslide Gala been even cooler?) is a brand new duo of Sean McCann and Kellen Shipley. How brand new? This, their debut, was recorded last month. According to Roll Over Rover's website, the duo plays keyboard and sax and first side "Scotch & Soda" is weirdly (or maybe not so weirdly) McCannish despite the constant skronk sax. Though what I'm assuming is sax sounds a lot like a violin being bowed to pieces. The piece has a lovely float and lilt to it and the frantic, scraping violin/sax/whatever keeps everything just enough off-balance to give all the beauty of the piece extra effect. It's a lovely curiosity. Near the end of the side everything changes to a cavernous sax/keyboard duet riffing on a pretty keyboard line and resigned sax, also quite lovely. The B-side "Guest of Honor" changes the vibe considerably, bringing in rattling percussion and murmuring saxophone. I think there's a flute in here too, making that whole keyboard/sax tag a bit of false advertising. In the keyboard's absence, the melody of this track comes from the sax giving a slower, more wandering tempo. It's not minimal like Body Morph/Uneven Universe, but it does have the oddly shifting sax-in-a-vacuum feel. The track builds to a strange climax where right at it's slight pinnacle, it completely deconstructs itself. Like the first side, there's a short coda at the end. This one sounds like rubber balls tumbling around in a giant wooden box.
It's a cool tape full of lots of interesting sounds. Check it out for sure, I'm looking forward to hearing more from these guys.
Both tapes are available still but limited to 60 so get them soon. And no, I have no idea what is going on with the artwork on the Grasshopper tape. Check Obsolete Units and Roll Over Rover for copies. You also may check the Hopper's 'space for copies too.

1 comment:

Grasshopper said...

Thank you so much for the kind words! Shoot us your address at and we'll send you some more jamz!