by m. geddes gengras

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recorded at GREEN MACHINES 9.28-29.10
originally released on Full of Nothing
art by Anya Kuts

NOTE: 'The Whole' is an early version of Side B of the 'Magical Writing' CS

'With a beard like a flying carpet this American aural traveler is known far and wide. Besides numerous recordings under his own name and with Antique Brothers, there are slabs of Robedoor/Pocahaunted goodness with his drumming, appearances in L.A. Vampires and Warm Climate, killer DJ sets… My god there are always a few more names to drop! L.A.’s one and only, MGG presents a couple of gently floating electronic pieces here: shooting deep, reaching even further. Thoughtful reflections on humanity’s high hopes. Melancholic futuristic synthesizers slice the air thin. New age is coming. L.A., rebirth now! '

'The drone/post-new age/minimalist/hypnagogic/kosmiche/tape-culture/etc. mindfuk going on out there is a real quagmire (giggety). So much of it seems like unnecessary rehashing of the Gas/Tangerine Dream/Kitaro/Brian Eno aesthetic, while other artists appear destined for utter greatness. For me, the latter designation can only be affixed to those who render the template for their chosen form of expression meaningful. Book Of Shadows, Pink Priest and, in particular, Dolphins Into The Future come to mind as worthy aspirers of the Tape Age throne, but M. Geddes Gengras is right there with them, on the cusp of achieving much more than mere 50-run radar blips. (I’d be remiss not to mention Riceboy Sleeps by Alex & Jonsi as well. They inhabit a separate sphere of the universe these days, yes — don’t hold that against them, however. RS is a masterful mix of drift and drag.)

“Rebirth Los Angeles,” a tape on the lovely Full of Nothing label (yes, the Russians), is the sort of aural jesus-smack you apply to open wounds and the terminally ill only. It’s so languid your ears will almost nod out at times, yet the drain you feel isn’t from sedation, it’s from full-on hypnotization. Sound crystals form like rainbow christmas lights and embed themselves in your ear pockets like shards of fiberglass; small streamers of synth form and streak through the air like smoke trailes behind a fleet of ninja jets. GODDAMN, I’m on a ROLL.

Very dreamlike, ornate in its execution and full of depth, Gengras’ compositions contain just a few elements, unspooling slowly but surely. It’s amazing how subtle the mood shifts are, almost like stepping back from a 3D picture and suddently seeing new, darker, danker angles entrenched in the apparatus. Tones rise and surrender in a bubbling pool of cool digital liquid and keyboard sparkle. Dark-pink turns to dark-red and kettle-black, light plunges into shadow, sun gives way to cloud and a hugely satisfying undercurrent of bass and cosmic krackle sweep the entire construct away in a swirl of classic synth-speak that grasps at Onoehtrix Point Never, Rainbow Dome Musick by Steve Hillage (ex-Gong), personal obsession Rat Catching and everyone’s favorite keytar, Mudboy. Rhythms eventually enter the fray; at that point, so late in the game, it’s as if surging water is effortlessly cloaking a town ravaged by a hurricane and two volcano blasts — if there were damage to do, one might appreciate it more, but at that point the checks are cashed and the banks are closed.

The blacker-than-Blackie Lawless “Rebirth Los Angeles” tape is a lot like the records you’ve been hearing on labels such as Editions Mego, Not Not Fun, Hundebiss, Weird Forest, BlueGreenGold, Nihilist, Parvo Art, Fedora Corpse and NNA, and don’t forget, this is just a link in a long discog chain that stretches to labels like Pecant and Stunned and stints in cassette-tribe institutions including LA Vampires, Pocohaunted and Robedoor, among others.

It would all be moot if he pulled a Eno reach-around and mucked it all up, but this guy gets it, taking nothing for granted and applying all he’s learned from the past into each new release. That he should pop up on Full of Nothing, whose Polypus Acephalous release has been stuck in my subconscious ever since I buried it in my Xterra’s tape player for four days and listened to little else, is another coup in a long line of beautiful, fortunate occurrences that unraveled before my eyes and ears in 2011. As we shut ’11 down and go for broke in 2012, I hope the underground shamans keep their kettles hot and their schedules shitpacked; our lives may very well depend on it their creativity someday.'
-gumshoe grove
WAS IST DAS video review


released January 1, 2011



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m. geddes gengras East Los Angeles, California

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