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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]

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 » 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
Stationary Odyssey
More Or Less Is More
The Great Vitamin Mystery

Rating: 6/10 ?


February 17, 2005
Most of Stationary Odyssey's More Or Less Is More was recorded in Evansville, Indiana. That's funny, I would have guessed Roswell, New Mexico. A grand experiment in atmospheric instrumental rock, More Or Less Is More is 25:09 of alien soundscapes that leave you convinced that intelligent life is out there. And Aaron Turner, the visionary behind Stationary Odyssey, has probably made contact - it's just that the government has already gotten to him.

At least that's the impression you get from the opening track, "The Singularity", a chilling journey into the vast emptiness of space. Amorphous guitar ripples like reverbed radio messages sent into the deepest reaches of the galaxy. Comets of feedback and ambient noise go shooting across the blackness of Turner's moody, menacing bass. Then the ship runs headlong into a mid-tempo, math-rock maelstrom of crashing cymbals and flailing dual guitar effluvium from Jeff Acker and Jesse Gallamore, two of the 11 collaborators that helped Turner create More Or Less Is More's Matrix of sound. And you ride out the turbulence till quiet returns. Along with the loneliness - the kind that drove Major Tom to drugs.

A headphone masterpiece, "The Singularity" clocks in at just over at a Vocokesh-like 9:30, which only leaves a little more than 15 minutes for the rest of More Or Less Is More. Trimmed of the sonic excesses "The Singularity" wallows in, the rest of More Or Less Is More seems ... well, like sonic wallpaper for break rooms at NASA or muzak for a doomsday cult.

There is a methodical quality to the guitars of "Perpetual Of The Retired Evermore" that makes the arrangement feel like a clinical exercise rather than the kind of wild adventure you want and expect from the sort of sonic exploration promised here. "Key To Victor Sigma" follows the same dull path.

There's a snippet of recorded baby talk, followed by some lovely chiming guitar and martial, echoing drums fills that seem to be building up to a righteous Explosions In The Sky meltdown. But the deliberate, mathy melody just keeps running into the same wall over and over again, before falling down exasperated and unfulfilled. Then comes the warped textures and varied percussive knocking of "Traditional Desert Gentleman", and they point to a new direction for Stationary Odyssey, but the bass lines and guitar tracks get stuck in familiar ruts and can't get out.

Just when you're ready to give up on More Or Less Is More, the sweeping synth swaths and crystalline, falling keyboard icicles of "Aiming At The Blur" make you believe Stationary Odyssey is attempting to climb the snow-capped Mount Everest of epic electronica, M83's Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. But it dies halfway up, as if the thin air was too much for Stationary Odyssey to take.

More Or Less Is More's mission keeps getting grounded by conventional indie rock dynamics. And that's too bad, because when Stationary Odyssey abandons them, More Or Less Is More gets a whole more interesting. Set to eerie theremin, a 1950s professorial voice comes on at the beginning of "Buzzer Bugle" and says, "Perhaps a frontal labotomy would be the answer." Invasive surgery that leaves you a drooling zombie isn't, but how about more of that track's dark piano, drum machine ticks and synthesizer washes? Or the complex drum mosaic pieced together by Aaron Distler in "Uh", or that song's sinister, foreboding, experimental guitar tunings. These are worth exploring in greater detail. Next time, Stationary Odyssey hopefully will take you there, or to Six Flags. Whatever's cool with me.

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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