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BroadBand Mojo | ƒ®øåðƒå~ð µø?ø

Album review by John Powell

Broadband Mojo |  ƒ®ØåòƒÅ~ð µø?Ø

It will be easiest to categorize Broadband Mojo’s ƒ®øåðƒå~ð µø?ø as post- rock, although it abstains from much of the atmospheric wailing of some of post-rock’s most notable contemporaries. Instead, the trio focuses on unique sounds. How can they make them and how can they make them sound good? The most interesting aspect of ƒ®øåðƒå~ð µø?ø is that despite it’s chaotic leaps of noises, as well as its multidimensional percussion, it retains a grooviness often vacant in other albums of its nature.

“Mayan and Your Calendar” is a strong opener. These guys are all-instrumental, by the way. Thumbtack Smoothie is a drummer with a great ability to take jazz sounds and funkify them. Joe Clapp, credited in the CD liner notes as playing guitar but also “slide whistle and jews harp,” whirls around the speakers creating so much atmospheric chemistry you’ll usually be unable to tell which instrument is making which noise. Tim Coletti, playing bass, has a slightly overdriven and highly gloomy sound, but playing quick lines he creates an undercurrent for the other sounds to surf on. “Mayan and Your Calendar” is fronted by speedy acoustic guitar play, all overdubbed and thumping. It’s really a treat to listen to on headphones.

But while the first song is only two minutes long, “Half Tech” is a five-minute exploration at dubbiness. The song is totally along the lines of Dub Trio, for anyone out there familiar with the guys that effortlessly blend roots dub with intense metal. The sounds seem to spew from outer space satellite ricochet on this track, all whizzing and whirly, but like I mentioned, the groove is always there, even with the unidentifiable whispering voices throughout it and the ripping guitar soloing.

None of the songs resemble one another. The only clue that it’s all from one band is the fact that no one throws noises at you quite like Broadband Mojo. “Three Days in the Desert”, however, is a change of pace. Acoustic at first, with an Eastern flavor, it slowly unfolds into a trippy weave of drums and guitar fingerpicking.

The key track is “Slide In It”. It’s beautiful, euphoric, and heavy. The intro is slide guitar over palm-muted rhythm guitar, and then a cello comes in for a short interlude before the drums, loud in the mix and on target, swing in. The bass moves , the guitar remains ever reserved, and the intensity builds in the shear energy that is put into playing. “Slide In It” exceeds expectations. Sadly, it’s the second track, so there’s hardly any lead up to it. It comes out of nowhere and wins.

Another gorgeous track is “Lefty”, complete with background noise of some kind of party, glasses clinking, laughter, and squeals. The guitar strums are sweet, but it’s Broadband Mojo’s sparse but well-timed use of strings that make the track memorable.

The first half of ƒ®øåðƒå~ð µø?ø is better than the second, which is more experimental, which some listeners will appreciate, I suppose. “Fever Dream” draws from new age jazz and “2012” is too robust for anyone not tripping on acid.

“Broad Banjo”, full of banjo of course, is an anti-climactic closer to the 14-track album. The electric guitars are bit prog rock, but the song being 11-minutes long, of course it’s not stagnant. Eventually all the stops come out. Weird synth noises screech out and the song transitions into what sounds like a group of robots’ trying their hands at rock n’ roll, or like Mario and Luigi if they were part Rambo.

ƒ®øåðƒå~ð µø?ø is a real sound trip. Honestly, the album makes no sense. It’s delusional and not for the easy listener. Every song sounds very original and the musicians are clearly pros that decided to use their talents to make an album no other artist would even know was possible.

Bottom line: Feeling like going on a trip with post rock? Check out ƒ®øåðƒå~ð µø?ø.


 

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