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Camofleur


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Music

Image of album by Gastr Del Sol

Photos

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Biography

Gastr del Sol was the most prominent vehicle of indie rock stalwart David Grubbs, a former member of Squirrel Bait and Bastro. With Gastr del Sol, the Louisville, KY-born vocalist/guitarist/pianist's evolution from conventional rock music into more intricate and sophisticated tone patterns became complete; debuting with the 1993 EP The Serpentine Similar, the group -- a shifting aggregate ... Read more in Amazon's Gastr Del Sol Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino Records
  • ASIN: B000024S9A
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Seasons Reverse
2. Blues Subtitled No Sense Of Wonder
3. Black Horse
4. Each Dream Is An Example
5. Mouth Canyon
6. A Puff Of Dew
7. Bauchredner

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

Gastre Del Sol consists primarily of Chicagoans Jim O'Rourke and former Squirrel Bait member David Grubbs. For the better part of the 90s, they've brought avant-garde concepts of experimental sound to a younger, ex-indie rock audience. Camofleur generally mined for experimental sounds, but this time they came from pop and folk. With echoes of Van Dyke Parks and John Fahey, Gastre shifted their focus from sound to arrangement, presenting tunes for the first time. Still, the music defied category, melding piano, acoustic guitar, strings, horns, tape noise, and deadpan da da lyrics into delicately abstract and melodic sound paintings. This is Art music at its most listenable, eluding your grasp rather than testing your patience. --Steve Tignor

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Feb. 2000
Format: Audio CD
Gastr Del Sol's long-term commitment to experiments with guitars gets a little bit of a beating on this album. The opening track "The Seasons Reverse" begins with a frenetic scene of action and dispair, and lackadaisical vocals and steel drum solos add to the atmosphere of strangeness and unfamiliarity. That's where the album stays too - in an unfamiliar environment where you always feel a little lost, and never quite know what to expect. This is not an album to 'flick through', as nearly every track changes theme, arrangement and structure during its course, and each of the tunes retains an atmosphere of friendly isolation. This album is far more accessible than "Crookt, Crakt or Fly" for example, but still retains Jim O'Rourke's flair for structural experimentation and atmospheric sensitivity. Poignant in places, and questioning in others, this album holds its appeal and asserts its originality without compromise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By www.mozza_ward@hotmail.com on 12 Aug. 2001
Format: Audio CD
The album as a whole has a strange consistency despite its eclectic nature - the selection of instrumentation and structure. THE SEASONS REVERSE is a reasonably straightforward song with a strange 'spongy' texture, reminiscent of novelty records, underlying the acoustic twangs. The shifting perspective of the words reflect this back and fro feel. BLUES SUBTITLED NO SENSE OF WONDER would feel most at home on a compilation of 50/60's minimalism with guest vocals by a whinging Neil Young. The creative use of CD skips stuttering along in the background come in and out creating space for the other instruments whilst the piano, although consistent in its repetition, weaves amongst the harmonic effects created by the overlaid sounds. As you can probably see this, in my opinion is the standout track on an already exceptional album. On the next track we start on a jaunty number with soulful bass and possibly Russian folk influenced violin etc. BLACK HORSE then transforms itself into an extended guitar piece more suited to improvisation of an American folkishness. EACH DREAM IS AN EXAMPLE is like a slowed down balladic synthesis of everything that has come before with a Carpenters twist. The lyrics to MOUTH CANYON read that 'transparent is OK' and this transparency extends to the sparse guitar revealing a Hawaii feel on the horizon. The song moves towards the city with its bass line reverberating every step. A PUFF OF DEW is full of experimental glitches and poetic mutation. Intimacy and closeness in an unknown domestic setting. BAUCHREDNER closes the album with a strange combination of variable speed picking and note slides that lend an angular presence to a beautifully paired down acoustic guitar. A second guitar comes in to destroy any flow the music possessed before a trucking style cornet led piece takes us to the end. All in all a well considered piece of indie guitar swing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By www.mozza_ward@hotmail.com on 12 Aug. 2001
Format: Vinyl
The album as a whole has a strange consistency despite its eclectic nature - the selection of instrumentation and structure. THE SEASONS REVERSE is a reasonably straightforward song with a strange 'spongy' texture, reminiscent of novelty records, underlying the acoustic twangs. The shifting perspective of the words reflect this back and fro feel. BLUES SUBTITLED NO SENSE OF WONDER would feel most at home on a compilation of 50/60's minimalism with guest vocals by a whinging Neil Young. The creative use of CD skips stuttering along in the background come in and out creating space for the other instruments whilst the piano, although consistent in its repetition, weaves amongst the harmonic effects created by the overlaid sounds. As you can probably see this, in my opinion is the standout track on an already exceptional album. On the next track we start on a jaunty number with soulful bass and possibly Russian folk influenced violin etc. BLACK HORSE then transforms itself into an extended guitar piece more suited to improvisation of an American folkishness. EACH DREAM IS AN EXAMPLE is like a slowed down balladic synthesis of everything that has come before with a Carpenters twist. The lyrics to MOUTH CANYON read that 'transparent is OK' and this transparency extends to the sparse guitar revealing a Hawaii feel on the horizon. The song moves towards the city with its bass line reverberating every step. A PUFF OF DEW is full of experimental glitches and poetic mutation. Intimacy and closeness in an unknown domestic setting. BAUCHREDNER closes the album with a strange combination of variable speed picking and note slides that lend an angular presence to a beautifully paired down acoustic guitar. A second guitar comes in to destroy any flow the music possessed before a trucking style cornet led piece takes us to the end. All in all a well considered piece of indie guitar swing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
better late than never 6 Feb. 2005
By leopold bloom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
So, I found this used (in Chicago, of all places) in the summer of '01, and I thought I'd check it out, given the O'Rourke pedigree.

I listened to the first few tracks, found it pleasant enough, and filed it away. Then, a couple of years later, I pulled it out, put in the 5-disc shuffle, and went off to another part of the house to do some odds and ends. At some point, the final 2 minutes of "Bauchredner" came wafting through the house, and I thought I'd died and gone to musical heaven. Over a motorik-style Stereolabbish beat, there was a drum fill, then horns, then beautiful pedal-steel guitar...and it made me sit down and it made me smile. I then realized I'd never gotten to the end of the CD before. Oh, silly me. It was like finding a $100 bill while doing the laundry. It was like a sudden vista appearing during a monotonous drive. Unexpected, beautiful, and all the more beautiful being so unexpected. I'm not suggesting that the final two minutes of "Bauchredner" are worth buying the CD for, but that experience prompted me to reassess the entire disc, and it's since gone into regular and heavy rotation.

Let this be a lesson. If O'Rourke has anything to do with a project, listen to the entire damn thing.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Prog pop jazz skewedlyrics quiet 16 Jun. 2000
By Buzz Advert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have read many reviews that call this an accesible albumorpoppy, or was it "Gastr del Sol at their pop best." Whilethat description may be sensible to one familar with the band, it's a little like talking about Can at their pop best. Yes, this album is more accesible than past efforts, but that doesn't mean a lot here. The exception is with the album's bouyant opener, "The Seasons Reverse." This masterpiece of a song should have been a huge hit (ok now I'm getting carried away, maybe in just parallel universe). After the Seasons Reverse the album is a much more subdued, jazzy, minimalist affair but always solid.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An effort to pump this disc... 11 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
...because I think Gastr del Sol are incredibly underappreciated and could very easily reach a much larger audience. "Camofleur" proves it, and let it be said, this is a POP album (unlike their previous efforts)--for more experimental, challenging listening, "Upgrade & Afterlife" is austere, bracing, and very rewarding.
Camofleur, then, is eclectic pop music. O'Rourke and Grubbs seem to have included every influence they ever spent a day with, from Eno ("A Puff of Dew") and Parks ("Each Dream is An Example," "The Seasons Reverse") to Fahey ("Bauchredner"), Kraftwerk, Conrad, and Vietnamese folk songs ("Black Horse"). There are acoustic guitars with deft fingerwork, pedal steel guitars, pianos on top of needly-noisy synthesizer sounds, tape-looped found sounds, backup singers (!), and even drums, occasionally.
The amazing part is that O'Rourke has managed to arrange and mix it all so that it is remarkably cohesive. The songs blend right into one another, organically--a common adjective applied to his production sound--but they are interestingly arranged and diverse enough that they are clearly distinct from one another. This a marked reversal from their other albums, where "post-rock" is apropos (spacious, percussionless extended sequences punctured by bursts of sheer noise). Another departure is that this album is always pleasant, almost dreamy, easy to listen to. Where past albums tempered the occasional pleasantness with dissonance, "Camofleur" replaces the dissonance with denser arrangements and more varied musicianship.
If anything this album is a harbinger of the pop sensibilty of Grubbs' and O'Rourke's subsequent solo efforts. To my ear (and brain), what they did together is far richer and more interesting than almost anything they've done alone (possibly excepting The Magic Sound of Fenno'berg). They are smart, exceptionally skilled musicians with talents that seemed to complement each other in ways few bands together for twice as long ever reached. "Each Dream Is an Example" and "Blues Subtitled No Sense of Wonder" are stand-out tracks that showcase the layered, sometimes lush arrangements, as well as Grubbs' more interesting lyrics. "Sensuous detail meet sensuous detail" sums it all up: that's exactly what "Camofleur" is about, sensuous detail.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
this is one of the best. 20 April 1999
By Doomsday - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ok, i must admit, i first heard Gastr in an mp3 file. I was blown away. I went right out that day and bought "Upgrade & Afterlife". Although i thought it was very good, it is definately not for everyone. Then a few days later i came here and ordered "Camofluer". And now i must say, "This IS for everyone". This is one of the most amazing recorded albums i've ever heard. This, along with "Bark Psychosis" - HEX, could be the only CD's i'd ever own and i'd still be musically satisfied. It's funny. All these record companies are freaking out over mp3's, but think, if it wasn't for mp3's, i never would have heard Gastr, let alone purchased two of their albums in one week. Do yourself a favor, buy this album.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Breathtaking 25 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Simply one of the most adventurous yet satisfying blends of artistic classicism and electronic soundscapes. Each note is perfectly hit (not a single extra) and essential to each piece, casting a spell of comfort and togetherness that was only hinted at on Gastr's previous album, Upgrade and Afterlife. Echoes of Van Dyke Parks' monumental Song Cycle are very apparent and stand alongside Markus Popp's tourtured-to-the-point-of-being calmed computer malfunctions, as if someone poured soda all over his hard drive and then turned the machine's rotted wires and boards into billowy clouds hidden within melody. O'Rourke's Faheyisms are delightful as usual, and Grubbs' piano figures sway with elegance. Essential to devouts of VDP's Song Cycle, and to everyone who ever wondered if melody and electronics could ever REALLY work as one(and perfectly, at that).
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