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Tower Recordings - The Galaxies’ Incredibly Sensual Transmission Field Of The Tower Recordings

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Artist: Tower Recordings

Album: The Galaxies’ Incredibly Sensual Transmission Field Of The Tower Recordings

Label: The Communion Label

Review date: Jan. 5, 2005

Brattleboro, Vermont based collective The Tower Recordings are one of the more innovative groups bundled under the ever-growing umbrella of the psychedelic folk scene. Largely overlooked for recording before the current trend hit, they’ve consistently been viewed by musicians and discerning fans alike as one of the underground’s best kept secrets. With an encyclopedic knowledge of blues and folk traditions and a fascination with the avant-garde, leader Matt Valentine has crafted a suitably far out sound filled with brittle acoustic picking and mind melting experimentation.

The Galaxies’ Incredibly Sensual Transmission Field Of… is The Tower Recordings’ second record for The Communion Label, following 2001’s Folk Scene. During the Folk Scene sessions, the band – at the time featuring Valentine, PG Six, Helen Rush, Tim Barnes, Samara Lubelski, S. Freyer, Esq., Andre Vida and Dean Roberts – journeyed to an upstate New York church and recorded this 32-minute set. After reviewing the tapes, Valentine thought the music was among the group’s best and decided to put it on disc.

That’s good news because Valentine was right-on in his assessment. TGISTF is the band’s strongest, most cohesive recording to date. The assembled musicians form a practical supergroup of New Music stars and they play accordingly. These cats sound incredibly comfortable playing together. Their effortless interaction is the type commonly heard only in ensembles with far more stage time under their belts.

“Harvester” starts the disc with a loping guitar line, meandering piano fills and clattering percussion. Wordless, cooing female vocals float about as the group improvises, conjuring up a dark, electrical storm of activity. “One more mile to the sky,” Valentine sings in a cracking falsetto as the song subsides into an acoustic guitar and brushed drum outro. “Giggy Garbage Gods (777)” is an acoustic blues cut with a chorus of sleigh bells and fat organ tones. As it progresses, the song moves further from its “traditional” beginnings, morphing into a warm, cosmic drone. “Ibiza Within You” is a gentle ballad augmented by dual acoustic guitars and wavering electronic hums. Closer “Other Kinds Run,” veers away from the more passive preceding tracks, focusing instead on a jarring stomp that sounds like a reworking of the Velvet Underground’s show stopper “Sister Ray.”

At first, the album’s meager 30-minute running time is a disappointment, but once one settles into the songs’ incredible depth it becomes apparent that no more or no less is needed. The Tower Recordings truly have produced an incredibly space-folk transmission.

By Ethan Covey

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