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Gastr del Sol

Post Rock/Math rock

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Gastr del Sol Upgrade & Afterlife album cover
3.92 | 5 ratings | 1 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Our Exquisite Replica of "Eternity": (8:26)
2. Rebecca Sylvester (3:53)
3. The Sea Uncertain (6:12)
4. Hello Spiral (10:40)
5. The Relay (5:49)
6. Crappie Tactics (1:48)
7. Dry Bones in the Valley (I Saw the Light Come Shining 'Round and 'Round) (12:28)

Line-up / Musicians

- Gene Coleman / clarinet (bass)
- Tony Conrad / violin
- Kevin Drumm / guitar
- Mats Gustaffson / saxophone, sax (baritone)
- Terri Kapsalis / violin
- John McEntire / drums
- Gunter Muller / percussion
- Jim O'Rourke / musician
- Sue Wolf / cello

Releases information

1996 CD&LP Drag City #90

Thanks to Retrovertigo for the addition
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GASTR DEL SOL Upgrade & Afterlife ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GASTR DEL SOL Upgrade & Afterlife reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the third official studio solid album of Gastr Del Sol, called Upgrade & Afterlife, at which point there can be no more dubiousness or digressions, regarding any experimental confusion, drought art, havoc pallid play, strange and foreign connection or other different negative, too splashing or too out-of-context qualities of the band. For me personally, all the handicaps or the simply uninteresting marks of their past recordings get a decent wipe starting such an album (and an voluntary new or refreshed expression), where the broadened craft is mixed with more of a deep and perfect resonance. Fans of Gastr Del Sol being purely (or even excessively) experimental and wrench-sounding might still find good stuff in the early music explosions, but, for a fact, this album and the next Camoufleur are the quintessential standard for Gastr Del Sol, in which all the dynamic and all the brainstorm meets a good layer of rock, effect and tune-tone.

The arrangement and the music design in Upgrade & Afterlife is somehow aggressive, afterwards random or experimental, mixing nevertheless some music with some eclectic technical work, some sound with some perspective, some deep favorite meanings with some post-wrecked confusions (of a clear and shiny emotion). To an extent, the first part is made out of entire luxury and influence of rock and harmony, due not only to the simple guitar works that are exercised (a mutual, already, feature in the gentle side of Gastr Del Sol), but also in the evoking passion, rhythm, bluesy pale imitation of music or different harmonious alternative gestures; afterwards, these exact types of ballad experimental movements complicate themselves: Our Exquisite Replica Of Eternity has a middle improvisation of noises and hallow roots of unearthly touches, Rebecca Sylvester goes from rhythmed to cold showered, being music of a tired energy; and The Sea Incertain has entire drafts of melody acuities, but also a feverish rock slide.

The styles changes (and it might be felt abrupt or sharp) with Hello Spiral, a great and worthy piece in the catalogues and the usual rustle of experimental/post compositions. It is the most keen on noise, experiment and separated-out tones, whilst its impeccable rhythm is progressive drawn from all the bits of craft and lonely (or singular) hyacinth melodies. The impact of the last minutes is, probably, the essence of the album, but also the typical way to build and after-taste an entire post rhythm ruse - examples of such an experimental delight existing in many analogies or influences. After the spiraling epic, the mood goes back to some silence waves, to some delicate - yet considerable articulate - rock (guitar) techniques, to some massive sound fabrics that seem orchestral but are only worked inside and outside, as a tough machine play, and some ambient or fluid expressions. The second epic isn't a rival to a first, nor an interesting audible emotion, yet the impression is purely eclectic and rock-e-relic. Finally, you can't say that Upgrade & Afterlife wouldn't include an entire calisthenic impression of a music inspiration and exploration, but the rock, the ambient-post, the meditational-rough or the spiral rhythms are still the essential grip and the most worked upon effects.

Good stuff, and my favorite Gastr Del Sol album. Maybe not because the band finds, finally, a way to comply to greatest ideas and most satisfying webbed experiments, nor even because of a great art being discovered or interactively interpreted; but because it's very clear and dry in language, very accurate in its contraction, and very pleasant in its downright challenge. Even more essential it remains to be said that Gastr Del Sol enter their best shape till now with this album (and the previous EP, partly), without losing the curiosity, the trademark eclecticism or, though I've noted it changed throughout the review, the beatnik bare experimentalism.

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