Unimother 27 - "Grin"
(Pineal Gland 2008, PG003)

From Aural Innovations #40 (September 2008)

Italian multi-instrumentalist Piero Ranalli has an impressive pedigree, having played with space-doom-stoner band Insider, and currently with the outstanding progressive rock band Areknames. Ranalli formed Unimother 27 as his solo Krautrock/Psychedelic/Prog project and Grin is his third album (see reviews of the first two in AI #36 & #37). There are 5 tracks on Grin, all in the 8-12 minute range, so Ranalli has plenty of room to stretch out and develop his themes.

"Long Deep River" opens with dissonant keys, guitar, and swirling noise waves, that create a dark, surreal carnival effect. When the main theme kicks in we're in classic progressive rock territory, with haunting efx'd vocals and steadily paced guitar licks, given an aggressively scorching effect by the guitar sound. Then around the 7 minute mark things wind down and the music transitions to a keyboard driven prog theme, again joined by guitar, but this time with a wah'd acidic sound that gets increasingly assertive until the keyboards are relegated to a supporting role. The flowing proggy keyboards stand in marked contrast to the guitar sound, which I like a lot and the two really compliment each other in a strange but pleasant way.

"My Ritual Ashes" begins with a combination of space ambience and experimental electronica. Soon the guitar kicks in firing off ripping psychedelic solos. But things start to get really interesting when the keyboards and guitar join forces to create a dark, searing prog-psychedelic atmosphere. Acid guitar jams away to a war-like backing, giving the impression that some psychedelic army is marching into battle. "Fragments Of You" starts off with some freaky Sun Ra styled keyboard noodling and the sound of rainfall. Soon a slow guitar and keyboard melody takes over, accompanied by noise-psych guitar, which again makes for some interesting contrasts, with the brain piercing sounds against the melodic flowing music. Then after a few more minutes it shifts gears, bringing the track to a close with a cool whining psych guitar and vocals finale.

"Looking For The Superior Octave" is a dark atmospheric piece, with tribal drumming and multiple varied guitar parts. But as usual, this is the intro to something larger, and when the instrumentation kicks in we're treated to a heavy driving space-prog jam. Excellent cosmic rocking stuff, with molten guitars and wild alien electronics. My favorite track of the album. On the closing track, "What I Have Never Been", wer're once again in atmospheric space-prog realms, with a slowly building melody, dark moody theme, and spacey synths as the introductory segment. The whole piece is truly haunting, with demonic vocals, scorching guitar licks, and an all around doomy symphonic feel. My second favorite track of the set.

This album requires several attentive listens to really appreciate. Ranalli does a good job of bringing together multiple elements from the psychedelic and progressive worlds, and does so in unconventional ways, melding them with space rock, doom and other influences. Open your mind and give it a dedicated headphones listen.

For more information you can visit the Unimother 27 web site at: http://www.pinealgland.it/Unimother%2027.htm
Hear Unimother 27 at their Myspace site at: http://www.myspace.com/unimother27
Email at: pinealgland@tin.it

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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