Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lamborghini Crystal - Roach Motel (New Age Tapes / Pacific City Studios CD-R)

So in my last post I mentioned the show I went to in Albany, but obviously didn't go into too many details. I guess I'll update here. Basically, the show was amazing. Shall I go into greater depth? I believe I shall.

It opened with Burnt Hills (albeit in a slightly stripped down line-up) which is always a blast. Got there late but from what I could tell, even the smaller set up had some serious blastitude potential. Spencer Clark of The Skaters went next with some nice loping "coconut drone"--his term, not mine, but really its the most apt description I can come up with. The guy was like the Huckleberry Finn (or Rick Danko, if you need your analogies based in reality) of drone, wide brim straw hat, dangling necklace, incense out the wazoo. Just hunched over his minimal equipment set up. Truly nuts. After that James Ferraro, also of The Skaters, lay down his gurggling dronescape aided by his lovely assistant who lit incense, displayed a mighty saber, and contributed some nice vocalizations. After that Zac Davis of Lambsbread, Traum, and the Maim & Disfigure label had a ten minute solo guitar sesh that went from stoner rock mayhem to psuedo-No Wave weirdness. His prop set up included--actually, no, was limited to--a bong. It fit. Post Zac came a guy I had never heard of who went under the moniker Dolphins into the Future. This thing was serious actually. Very quiet, meditative loop stuff. Patience was big here, and the multitude of tapes lying on the floor, every so often replacing others, kept it moving at a glacial but beautifully minimal pace. This all in time for James and Spencer to unite and become the powers that are The Skaters. Could their set have done anything but slayed? Me thinks nay.

Of course the best part about the whole night was that there were about eight people their who weren't playing, so between sets we all hung out and discussed the finer points of Reptoids (Oprah is the queen it turns out), analog vs. digital video, and Chuck E. Cheese's. My wallet was empty by the time they were done with me.

One of the items I was able to score was this Lamborghini Crystal album. This is one of the solo projects of James Ferraro, and it wasn't really what I was expecting from the set he played at the show. Whereas the live scenario was a mammoth drone, Roach Motel is really more of a collage work. About an hour long, the whole thing stinks of beer and hookers--all heavy eighties guitar riffs mixed and looped until they become nothing more than a heaping concoction of post-concert fatigue. If you haven't seen Heavy Metal Parking Lot see it. If you have, it might look a lot like this afterwards. Bass riffs come in, drum machines lurch along, and looped vocals pulled from radio/James/wherever repeat and meld, bending underneath the riffs as the whole thing undulates back and forth. Really weird stuff.

At first I was little thrown off by this, but actually the effect really works, and it's clear James has an acute understanding of what he's doing. As the chaos of this stuff emerges and engages with itself it all becomes some kind of warped cultural amalgamation turning into some cosmic beast. Almost like what it might sound like if you were to listen to all of Earth's radio waves at once as they sped off towards the sun.

The whole thing is about an hour and is one track, so it makes for a pretty serious listen. Sometimes the riffs fade out and are replaced by new ones either related or not to the previous. The second half contains almost no riffs at all, just tonal workout sessions or droning warmth undercut by harsh static. All of this makes for an affair that, as a whole, is mind-numbing something good. Grating enough to keep your interest but zonked out enough to allow you to slip in and out.

The fact that this thing is a single side seems to point towards some kind of conception. The first half, all metal riffage, beer guzzling and primitivo percussion, really paves the way for a second half in which he can really explore some deep crevices of sound. And really that's what the release is, you know? Fully formed and masterfully executed formations of sound. Pretty daunting. Super good.

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