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Tia Carrera

The Quintessential (Small Stone)

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Oct. 30, 2009

Texas Platters

Tia Carrera

The Quintessential (Small Stone)

Five mammoth jams on five different labels, not including singles and compilation tracks, culminate in spontaneous metallurgists Tia Carrera's The Quintessential for Detroit rock indie Small Stone Records. The barely harnessed monster-truck pull of the local trio's 2003 debut on Perverted Son, The November Session, a radioactive sandstorm (34-minute closer "J Bankston Manor"), ripened on the sweat-lodge doom of a vinyl-only follow-up for Emperor Jones before peaking on the deeply baked crop circles of 2006's eponymous Australian Cattle God bow. The Quintessential, then, most resembles 2007 Arclight Records EP Heaven/Hell, where two main movements split a half-hour. Here, needling sonic prologue "Home" and acoustic backwater "Hazy Winter" sandwich three main tracks, cauldron stewed by Jason Morales, Erik Conn, and Andrew Duplantis, bassist Curt Christenson subbing in for Son Volt's Duplantis on one track. The droning Persian accents of "The Unnamed Wholeness," sewn with Ezra Reyonlds' keyboards, loose Morales' serpent (Gibson) SG, which writhes to the primal summons of Conn's Bonham-esque toms. Kashmir, Tierra del Fuego, Saturn – feel the burn, layered lysergic phosphorous. At 22 minutes, it bottles one of Tia Carrera's quintessential jags. "Gypsies" mucks about at relative speed-metal length – six minutes – banding together Buddy Miles and Hendrix before disappearing into the quicksand of "New Orleans." Humid, bottomless, the 15-minute consumption can't match the sparks of "The Unnamed Wholeness," but its Southern sludge reeks pungently verdant. Quintessence: "The fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies." (Tia Carrera shakes Beerland Friday, Oct. 30.)

***.5

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