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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Growing
The Soul of The Rainbow and the Harmony of Light
Kranky Records

Rating: 6/10 ?


May 16, 2005
It's either a soothing tonic for frayed nerves or a subliminal message from a higher power telling me to cleanse myself by killing all the unbelievers. Growing's "Onement" has me that confused.

The first of four long drone pieces presented by the duo Joe Denardo and Kevin Doria, "Onement" is a flint gray sky filled with layer upon layer of guitar - at least they tell me its guitar - effects as dense as clouds. Underneath, waves of natural water sounds lap at the shore of an empty beach on a cold day, and disappear as quietly as they came. It rains cymbals for nearly 10 minutes, and slight, almost imperceptible rumblings of Doria's bass can be heard near the end. Sounds ebb and undulate, receding into nothingness. One door to Narnia closes and another opens, like a disembodied eye searching for something swimming beneath a glassy surface.

I'm relaxed, that much I know. So relaxed, in fact, I wonder if at some point I slipped into unconsciousness, as if in a trance - maybe for days. And in that time, without being aware of my actions, it's possible I've done bad things.

"Onement" is for the institutionalized suffering from a nervous breakdown. It goes on for more than 18 minutes and covers you in blankets of mother-of-pearl tones that shift ever so slightly. Noticing such movements requires concentrated listening, the kind most people never have time or the attention span to do.

Then, there is "Anaheim II": a rude awakening that smothers you with dissonance - a dense, thick wall of effects that keeps melody out. Chords alternate like a bored child tossing his head from one shoulder to the other, going "la, la, la, la," ad infinitum. All static and hiss, "Anaheim II" doesn't evolve like "Onement"; it simply grows a little louder, never building in intensity. That might be enough for drone fanatics, but after listening to all 7:17 of it, "Anaheim II" leaves me numb.

Growing's willingness to experiment with tonality - to witness how the ribbons of sound in "Epochal Reminiscence" twist and change shape then echo throughout deep space - is interesting... to a point. You need the patience of Job to wade through The Soul of The Rainbow and the Harmony of Light. It's a little like driving through the Badlands of South Dakota. The trip is too long, but the unique topography, though rough and uninviting, is uniquely beautiful.

When you get to the other side, heaven awaits. "Primitive Associations/Great Mass Above" is Growing's crowning achievement. Mixing bird calls with rushing water and warm, enveloping tones that expand and wane, Growing recreates a lovely spring day. Faint horns are heard in the background, but only briefly. The group is at its most organic as the shimmering prism of sound that emerges and seems suspended above the pounding surf; it is hypnotic and awe-inspiring. It's 12 and a half minutes of bliss that passes much too quickly.

…Which is more than you can say for the rest of the album. Though it rewards diligent, focused attention, the payoff is paltry. Growing is getting there, however. Their quadraphonic live set must be something to behold, with Doria and Denardo putting up sound installations to surround its audience with trance noise. On record, you wish something like The Soul of The Rainbow and the Harmony of Light were a soundtrack. It begs for stark, vivid photography and lithe movement to bring it alive. Without these elements, Growing seems as bare as birch trees in winter.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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