Gastr Del Soul - Upgrade & Afterlife
So on the suggestion of a friend, I checked this band Gastr Del Soul. Gastr Del Soul is headed by David Grubbs, probably, better known from his work with bands such as Squirrel Bait and math-rock kings, Slint, and producer/multi-instrumentalist/general weirdo Jim O'Rourke. I myself being a huge fan of almost anything O'Rourke does, was very intrigued by this record, the bands fourth full-length, Upgrade & Afterlife, which was realeased in 1996 on Drag City records. The record begins with a track titled "Our Equisite Replica Of Eternity" which finds O'Rourke leaning more towards his avant-garde side by creating a sort of constant drone of organ noise with some very strange guitar-type noises on top. The next few tracks feature similar spurts of noise and drone along with a few mumbled lyrics on top of the generally sparse arrangements. On track four, the 10:40 "Hello Spiral" the band kicks off the tune with bursts of noise and feedback, then recess into a quiet "verse" of guitar harmonics and whispers of O'Rourke's voice. The song then morphes from the vocal part and concludes with a repeating riff that builds and builds in both speed and intensity until it climaxs in a beautiful mess of sounds. The record continues in a simlar fashion until it concludes with a cover of a John Fahey song, the epic, 12:28, "Dry Bones in the Valley." A tune that I would describe as almost experimental-folk. The track opens with a standard, finger-picked acoustic guitar part and finishes with a similar but more percussive guitar part along with what seems to be a violin sent through some sort of effects pedals. Upgrade & Afterlife is not a record for those looking for classic O'Rourke pop found on some of his solo records like Insignificance or Eureka but is definetly a very interesting record in terms of sounds. Upgrade & Afterlife is what I would imagine to be a wonderful introduction to O'Rourke's more avant-garde recordings. Strange time signatures, weird scales, and obscure sounds are everywhere on this record. If this sort of experimental math rock turns you on, defenitly check out this record/band, if this is the sort of thing that bores you, you may want to skip it.