Thursday, May 7, 2009

M. Geddes Gengras - Smoke Blower (Stunned Records CS)

Another Stunned one, this time from muckraker M. Geddes Gengras, who doubles as a member of Antique Brothers, founder of Green Machines studios and drummer for Robedoor. Not that any of those memberships could really prepare you for this, as here Gengras presents two sides of totally zonked instrumental lurch. I mean, it's called Smoke Blower... what did you expect?

Whatever smoke is being blown here though, it's far more potent than your average bong rip. This stuff is so gone it's tough to return back once you've gone through it. Each side presents one long track, the first being the title number, and if there were ever a more apt name than it would be tough to come by. Everything here is slow as can be, drifting about and lurching with thick rounded drones waving about above the city sounds of airplane flybys and metal on concrete. Totally weird and pretty singular in the mix of your expected L.A. squishiness with some totally borderline industrial screech and leech. Seriously, this stuff is off on some beach far in the recesses of your skull, total go nowhere drift. Only it does go somewhere, so that's not really fair, though the places it goes are hardly tangible enough to feel like "somewhere." There's a warmth here that's really special, hovering barely between noise techniques and something else, something new and strange and, dare I say, fun to partake in. Pretty clear there are fairly few tools at work here too, which lends it a spaciousness that allows you to fully sink your teeth in and have a gnaw at the root itself. Or the glitched out voltage of some spliced chord. Eventually the whole thing fritzes out and its a frenzy of guitar shards and drone that fall far afield of either doom moves or standard drone procedure. Really interesting space engaged here.

Of course the following side/track has a lot to live up to here, and Gengras manages to maintain the same fascinating realms without rehashing the ideas presented on the first side. This time around the track is called "Tree Trimmer," though this ain't no Yule time festivity for sure. Or maybe it is, but not in the family friendly oeuvre that one might initially suppose. Gengras opens with some clattering percussion and a thick and blown out bass rhythm that just kinda hangs out, wreaking havoc on your inner ear and your cerebral cortex while those little pitter patters dance about light as air. Weird and heady vibes for sure, continuously threatening to expand but never got getting there. Sheets of desert high end begin shooting out every now and then as the whole thing takes on this nearly dubby vibe, albeit a dub played in the middle of Death Valley, noon, June, with no H2O and plenty of 'dro. Really a mind splicer and a new aesthetic feel in its own way. Really lo-fi but also sun-bleached white. Another winner from Stunned, and it seems people have already caught on cause the label's out. Sure you can find it at the usual distro spots though, Tomentosa, etc. A big release and one that might even sneak its way on to some year-end lists should the right ears find it. Hell, if I did a year-end list, my ears might well be the right ears.

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