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Superdensecrushloadfactor - Decease Estates CD (album) cover





3.70 | 8 ratings

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4 stars Being a one-man band has its ups and downs. On the up side, you have total control of what comes out and how it's realized. On the down side, you actually need to come up with all the parts and be able to play them - not live, but overdubbing yourself in a manner that hopefully still sounds natural and loose. It's on this latter point that Gabe Buller, the one-man band in question, especially impresses me. While this album doesn't really sound like a live band, there's a sense of interplay between the parts that gives the impression of a band of individuals playing off each other. Each song is very tightly structured (it has to be, for a project like this), but also very unpredictable, fresh, and presents a natural flow of ideas -- each song is Going Somewhere.

That said, the opening track is a bit misleading and off-putting. "That One With Gapeworm" opens the album deceptively with a repeated, comical guitar figure that merely serves to tell the listener: "warning: this album may be a bit weird." Happily, though, the extended two-part second track, "Vandalize Stock Photos", presents Superdensecrushloadfactor in a better light. This rambling, relaxed track has such a cool sound to it. Consisting mostly of acoustic guitar and drum kit, it feels almost as if the jazzy drums are playing the melody. It reminds a little bit of the junkyard jazz sound of prime Sun City Girls.

Each succeeding track offers a slightly different take on this approach. "Subliminals Repeat Until They Become Blatant" contrasts midtempo acoustic sections with fast metallic electric guitar sections. "Key to the City" and "Progress" are both brief sung pieces, still complex but putting on just a little bit of a "pop song" sheen. "Oppressed Ones Take to the Tyrant With an Axe" (where does he get these titles?) gives the bass guitar center stage, a very oblong avant-rock piece that reminded me of some of the instrumental sections from Beefheart's "Lick My Decals off, Baby" album - listen to this piece while thinking of Rockette Morton's work on "Bellerin' Plain", for example. After a brief acoustic interlude, the album finishes with the energetic, optimistic title track, kind of a 3 minute recap of what the album is about. A nice ending.

My favorite things about this album are the rhythmic complexity (albums that are hard to count along with are always fun to try to figure out) and the way he develops the pieces in a way that makes sense yet remains unpredictable and exciting. The home-demo quality of the recording holds my overall rating back somewhat, but do realize that this is good, imaginative composition which offers no end of surprises. Somewhere between a 3 and a 4 certainly. While when I first published this review I leaned towards a 3, further listenings have upped it to a 4.

HolyMoly | 4/5 |


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