Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diminished Capacity..., 31 May 2011
This review is from: Gnod Drop Out With White Hills II (Audio CD)
I once saw Gnod play in a strange disused building in Manchester about four years ago as a friend's, friend's band and it was quite an experience even then. It was nothing short of ketamine fueled madness involving several drum kits, guitars, effects and a lunatic reading a crazed mantra from a piece of screwed up paper. From this early onslaught on the senses, Gnod have no doubt been through lineup changes, countless gigs, touring, jams, recording sessions and the like and my word does it show.

I'm not sure of the who-did-what on this album being both Gnod and White Hills collaborating, but I like to think of it as a huge hazy jam session with a dozen musicians playing off each other & zoning out. Because that's as sure as hell what it sounds like. This is very much a psychedelic rock record; glorious repetition, driving basslines, lots of textures, hazy vocals, and marching drums. The album revolves around some of the most solid and zoned out bass playing I've ever heard.

Drop Out consists of 4 epic jams (5 if you have the bonus track that comes with the reissue) interspersed with a few shorter tracks. The first proper track is 'Run-A-Round' and it's catchier than syphilis. Whether it's the bassist from White Hills or Gnod (most likely both together!) they probably play these lines in their sleep they're so damn... insistent! I can't get them out of my head! Drumming and and bass frequencies just force you to move; I challenge you to stay still for the duration of this tune. No chance matey.

'Spaced Man' sees more White Hills influence with a relative orthodox two note riff and even a chord change or two! But that massive dirge-like riff is irresistible and forms a solid base for the swirling psychedelic effects blanketed over the top. The track drops out at the end of 7mins and is bathed in a warm sea of synth effects for the rest of its 5min duration. This drone segues into 'Well Hang', which is a more tempered affair but the tension is ratchetted up a notch. Drums are forsaken for blocky percussion and the track is led by spooky layers of keyboard. 'Well Hang' serves beautifully to break up the insistence of the bass frequencies and brutal repetition of the epics either side of it and it's actually pretty damn melodic too.

The entire record burrows itself into the subconscious & fragments of music will pop into your head now & then & you'll realise they're from this album. Making a mostly instrumental album memorable is a mean feat but making bits actually stick in your head is astounding. Also something you'll notice here, which is glaring, is the absence of meandering guitar solos. Usually when psychedelic rock is mentioned all there is to think of is endless fuzzy guitar leads. Yet Gnod & White Hills are all about the transcendental nature of repetition; wanky guitar solos would break up their mantra and you know what; I don't miss 'em at all.

Obviously, as you've probably gleaned from my descriptions, this record is an acquired taste. I seem to have gone a bit overboard on the positive superlatives here but Drop Out came just at the right time when I wanted something fresh and exciting and for me at least, Gnod and White Hills have delivered in spades. Because of the nature of the music it's not going to be a classic album or anything but it's a mighty fine effort that everyone should check out and is certainly one of my favourite discoveries in a long while.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Sep 2011 14:55:09 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Sep 2011 21:47:47 BDT
Buddy says:
While i enjoy music i tend to find it boring too, but in my youth i was a rabid music fan, so what's changed?. Has the music become stale or am i a old git?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2011 21:57:30 BDT
Haha, hard to tell!

In my view, it's become so easy to make and release music, even release it yourself, that there's an over-saturation that makes recent music all the more ephemeral and disposable. What with downloads being such an impersonal medium one wouldn't necessarily take as much time to absorb and appreciate an album nowadays I suppose. Maybe that's contributing to an allusion of boredom. Maybe it's just that much harder to pick out the good stuff from the chaff; finding that good band - even compared to 10 years ago - feels like finding a needle in a haystack but it also makes it much more of an accomplishment once you do!

I think we're in a great time for music for the same reasons that make it bad. The internet opens up so many new avenues of discovery that I don't find it particularly difficult to find new great bands or weird little sub-genres that I'd never head of before. I just love searching for and finding new stuff! Even vinyl has returned and is seen with almost reverence by the independent music industry (oxy-moron!?) and beautiful box sets and amazing artwork are pretty common place too.

Or maybe you're just an old git! ;)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 21:48:25 BDT
crazygun says:
mainstream music has become stale but search and ye shall find.Ive been listening to music since the sixties but found great styff in every decade to the present.Just search it out
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