Grindlestone - "One"
(Noh Poetry Records 2008, NPR007)
From Aural Innovations #40 (September 2008)
Grindlestone is the duo of Don Falcone and Doug Erickson. Aural Innovations readers will be well familiar with Don as the organizer of Spirits Burning, as well as a slew of other projects including Spaceship Eyes, Quiet Celebration, Fireclan, Weird Biscuit Teatime, Thessalonians, and probably others I'm forgetting. I was pleased when this CD arrived because I've been wondering about it since Don talked about Grindlestone in my interview with him 2 years ago in AI #34. Doug Erickson had been the guitarist in a band called New Sun and Don met him through the folks at Expose magazine. The album had been done at that time and they were planning to label shop, so I'm glad Don finally decided to release it on his own Noh Poetry label.
Utilizing guitars, bass, and a laundry list of synthesizers, samplers, effects and percussion, Don and Doug have created a space ambient/soundscape/sound exploration album that defies simple categorization. There are 13 tracks, and while they are consistent in their basic sound, there's something very different happening on nearly every track.
"Tombola Beano Ductile" and "Post-Historic Daily Fuel" are the beat driven tracks. The former features bubbling electronics and equally bubbling beats, plus searing acid soundscape guitar, which make for an aquatic themed space ambient groove piece. And "Post-Historic Daily Fuel" is an electro-soundscape-dancey track. "Online Emergency Molasses" blends a bit of early Tangerine Dream stylings with pure space ambience. I like the combination of spacey rolling soundscape waves and sequenced patterns that, while not necessarily melodic, add a song-like quality to the piece. "Noble Forbidden Remora" is probably the best track of the set for pure spacey soundscape exploration.
"Ethno Earth Commission" has, as the title suggests, ethnic influences, plus a bit of Ozric Tentacles and all kinds interesting spacey sound constructions. Lots happening here in just a few minutes. "Sister Tropic Pizza" consists of a somber piano melody, augmented by light atmospherics. "Infinite Spinergy Plate" is an image inducing cinematic piece with an experimental edge. "Inverted Metal Texture" starts off as avant-garde sound art, later incorporating soundscape elements, space electronics and even some melodic bits.
"River Tomato Magic", "Wodan's Malty Dragon" and "Balsamic Fringe Decoy" are the tracks that feature prominent guitar. On "River Tomato Magic" the guitar is at the forefront, both soundscape and rocking, but accompanied by constantly shifting electronic patterns and themes. LOTS going on in less than 4 minutes. And "Wodan's Malty Dragon" and "Balsamic Fringe Decoy" are dual guitar explorations. This is definitely an album that begs multiple listens. Too much variety and so much happening in this music to absorb it all in a single listen. And that's a good thing.
For more information you can visit the Noh Poetry Records web site at: http://www.nohpoetryrecords.com
Hear Grindlestone at their Myspace site: http://www.myspace.com/grindlestone
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz