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Unknown Spin, The Last Hit, Ethereal Planes Indian, Where There's a Willy There's The Whale, Transitions

Charalambides, Jher-eee Siggenfeldt'z Atropheed Sack, Ethereal Planes Indian, The Whale Trio, and The Buddy System

Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., Feb. 27, 2004

Texas Platters

When you plop on a record with a 30-minute opening track, it's obvious you won't be getting your stereotypical listening experience. Austin's Charalambides have been burrowing a secret foxhole of eerie folk minimalism since their beginnings in Houston more than a dozen years ago, and they begin a new chapter of sorts with Unknown Spin. Chicago's Kranky Records has reissued this 2002 CD-R, originally on the band's Wholly Other label, to foreshadow a new original later this year. Unknown Spin is driven by Tom Carter's gentle, nearly incidental, guitar work; Heather Murray's dissonant pedal-steel hum; and Christina Carter's wordless vocal coos. Murray and Christina Carter's a cappella chanting resonates like midnight field hollers from a parallel universe... Abusing the same musical devices is Jher-eee Siggenfeldt'z Atropheed Sack, the absurd local musical troupe whose name changes with every gig. Their new CD-R, The Last Hit, captures the band playing in two separate rooms at once, and the effect is like dropping a carton of thrift-store detritus into the middle of an aboriginal death march. Chatterings, clatterings, and secret messages galore collide in a giant, brain-scrambled omelet... Iron Kite/ex-Primordial Undermind member B.C. Smith is Ethereal Planes Indian, and the maiden release on his own CD-R label Twilight Flight Sound is a captivating exercise in quirky sound sculpture, utilizing loops, chimes, dark timbres, and smatterings of Eastern fretwork... The Whale Trio is out there in Austin venues challenging people's notions of free jazz, improvisation, and music in general. Their full-length CD-R, Where There's a Willy There's the Whale, finds saxman Craig Johnson and band blasting fiercely, but with an ear cocked toward restraint and cohesion... Renowned local electronic craftsman Kurt Korthals returns as the Buddy System, releasing Transitions for new local abstract electronic label Notenuf. A serene center recalls the ambience of Harold Budd or Robert Rich, adding color to ebullient and accessible pockets of Warp or Rephlex Records-type glitch. www.brainwashed.com/kranky; footfoot@io.com; brironkite@ hotmail.com; thewhaletrio@yahoo.com; www.notenuf.com

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