The Cancer Conspiracy

SXSW Records

Phases and Stages

The Cancer Conspiracy

The Audio Medium (Big Wheel Recreation) Beginning with a gentle repeating piano motif joined by guitar, opening track "...To Sleep" belies the intensity and complexity of the debut album by Burlington, Vermont's Cancer Conspiracy. The trio, Brent Frattini (bass, radio manipulation), Daryl Rabidoux (guitars), and Greg Beedle (drums, keyboards, saxophone), are Seventies progressive rock enthusiasts, yet their sans-vox instrumentals aren't blues-based dino-rock anthems, but rather cinematic compositions waiting for a film. Like Austin's Golden Arm Trio, TCC has fashioned their own genre, drawing from jazz, experimental, and rock, landing the group performing slots with Man... or Astroman? and Oysterhead (Stewart Copeland, Les Claypool, and Trey Anastasio). Eschewing a my-turn-to-solo approach for a more cohesive and orchestrated sound, The Audio Medium is a minor-key album, emoting an opaque reddish blue hue where Jacob's Ladders of lighter emotion peek through, as in the latticework of "Loft Complication," and the evolving intro to the succeeding "The Silence of Underwater Traffic." "Conversation With a Wall," act one of a four-part 25-minute closing opus, would be at home on Tortoise's set lists, especially if Alex Lifeson and Tony Levin joined in toward the end, although closer "Live Through the Age of Radio" gets a little cerebral. Fans not conversant in TCC's influences might be puzzled, but the rest of the post-rock set will grab the phone to spread the word about The Audio Medium. (Wednesday, March 13, Emo's Jr., 9pm)

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