A Five and Dime Ship, Iron Kite, Concentric, Explosions in the Sky, and Calla
Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., April 23, 2004
Years went by with nary a solar flare from Austin's gentle cosmonauts Seven Percent Solution, who made intensely atmospheric, melodic space rock throughout the Nineties. Once again we have contact in the form of A Five and Dime Ship. On this new instrumental quartet's self-titled debut, Seven Percent guitarist James Adkisson and drummer James Harwood again weave an encompassing web of melody, at times detouring into a hypnotic Slint/Mogwai repetition. Early Pink Floyd is still a massive reference point, with eerie flutters and drones giving dimension to the patiently developing melodies. Speaking of drone, longtime local alchemists Iron Kite have loosed The Light in the Fog (Twilight Flight Sound), a CD-R of two long, eerily spare sound constructions recorded in 2000. Music professors would much prefer Concentric, a local jazz fusion concern that employs e.c.f.a. hornblower Carl Smith as a sideman. The band's self-titled debut features a series of thoughtfully arranged electric grooves that leave room for the jam fans as well as creative music aficionados. Explosions in the Sky return with "The Long Spring," a new track on Thank You (Temporary Residence), a fine compilation of original tracks from label artists including Tarentel, Fridge, and Sonna. Clocking in at 5:30, this cut continues the more impressionist direction of the Austinites' most recent disc, The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place. Calla is a Brooklyn band, but once they all lived in North Texas. Shortly after their 1998 NYC arrival, they recorded the stunning Calla for avant-garde indie Sub Rosa, recently reissued by the band's current label, Arena Rock Recording Co. Before the assertive, linear punch of their recent work, the trio crafted a sublime blend of ambient post rock; dark, gothic folk; and musique concrète a true buried treasure.