TOTEM> – Voices Of Grain

New Atlantis

Bruce Eisenbeil: guitar; Tom Blancarte: upright bass; Andrew Drury: drum set

Quite plausibly, a merely introductory contact with Voices Of Grain – released five years after Totem>’s debut Solar Forge on ESP-Disk’ – is going to give someone the idea of an inextricable network of spasmodically interknitted rhythms and stratified acerbic tones. This, for example, could be the superficial reaction in front of the initial “Genosong”, a violently stimulating brewage of harmolodic forcefulness and Bailey-esque outlawry, or the equally incandescent “Post-Repeating”, a piece that made me ready to swap blows with Roberto “Manos De Piedra” Duran. Yet, as it always happens with tangled and incisive records, it doesn’t take much for the core of the matter to come forth.

The “core of the matter” meaning: this trio is not concerned with skirmishes between instrumental individualities, for their agglomerative sound is an all-immersive white-hot integrality. Each musician brings what is needed for the textural coagulation to further solidify and move forward, backward and in any possible direction. Sometimes, improvising units fiddling about related issues renounce to sizeable chunks of indispensable artistic adulthood to spice things up and get gratuitous accolades. On the contrary, Totem> cement a congruous legacy through flared declarations of nonagreement that do not concede an inch of comfort to the listeners, who are requested to bury otiose analogies and join the discord via the sheer sympathetic quivering of their “potentially extremist” being.

The latter phenomenon will likely occur during the palpitant tension generated by the “introvert-and-apparently-calmer” types of offer. In “Written In The Body”, Blancarte’s gnarling lows overdraw a plurality of dismembered fluctuations by Drury, whereas Eisenbeil shows no remorse in discarding all his influences and conceptions – some of them revealed in this article – to rub out whatever deemed inessential for the fertilization of a personalized slang on the fretboard (and elsewhere). The final “Silence On Its Road” appears like a bodement of sorts, the players connected in a now expectant, now forbidding dilatory growth that left us dangling mid-air following almost 73 minutes of systematically diversified energy.

In case you didn’t get it yet: serious stuff, not to be missed.

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