|Mike Prete||10-May-2002||Smokin' Granny - Tarth Shooke|
Smokin' Granny is back with their second release, expanding upon their already powerful blend of avant-fusion and funky prog. This time around, they have adopted a much more subdued tone overall, with many ambient excursions thrown into the mix. Many tracks have a modern, almost post-rock vibe, such as "Assembler," its rhythmically repetitious and jagged electronic percussion and spaced out vibe would feel at home on a Tortoise album. In fact, much of the album reminds me of Isotope 217's Unstable Molecule, with its laid-back groove and Bitches Brew fusion elements. But the band does know how to kick it into overdrive when necessary and rips through some blistering lines on pieces such as "Tarth Shooke" and "Fuma sin Fuego," in stark contrast with the delicate and pensive outings.
Exploratory improvisations weave tapestries of many interesting textures,
from industrial noise, ambient washes, and angular melodies to pounding
rhythms that coalesce into intriguing excursions. The powerful, yet subtle
percussion and buoyant bass anchor and propel the pieces forward, lending a
strong backbone to the acoustic/electric guitar interplay and wind sounds.
While content to ride and develop a groove, the band isn't afraid to let
loose with some scorching riffs at any given moment. The shorter songs and
interludes act as microscopic previews of directions and themes tackled at
length in the longer pieces. A totally unique and wild blend of
instrumental rock, "It smokes without Fire."
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