Golden Arm Trio, Book of Shadows, and Dirac C
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., May 30, 2008
Cult of Color, the latest Graham Reynolds-scored trip with the Golden Arm Trio, sold out all of its shows during a run at Ballet Austin last month. The surreal performance paired the talented Reynolds with visual artist Trenton Doyle Hancock and choreographer Stephen Mills for an interpretative tale of creatures in a colorless world. Without visuals, the soundtrack doesn't have as much of a punch but nonetheless draws out anxiety and wonder in a way that Reynolds and company perfected on A Scanner Darkly. Eleven pieces, broken into three acts, veer between ominous and ethereal, minimal electronic and full-on noise, tracing the narrative arc with music as color. Similar amorphous shapes emerge from Book of Shadows' latest, The Cosmic Doctrine, the Austin duo's sixth for French experimental label Ruralfaune. Joined by local guitarists Douglas Ferguson and Jonathan Horne, Carlton and Sharon Crutcher trade incantations over chants, moans, bells, a ringing phone, synth, and drones, layered for meditative effect. James Adkisson of A Five & Dime Ship creates soundscapes that can sound like car crashes or lullabies as alter ego Dirac C. Guitar effects unravel the instrumentals of his self-titled disc; churning opener "Edison! Exclaimed the Demon" wouldn't be out of place within Cult of Color's chaotic buildup and release, whereas "She Sobbed Steel" is more industrial crunch, "Roller Coaster Bridges" more spacey and caffeinated. Points for originality: The titles were allegedly taken from the word jumbles used to trick spam filters.