The Rio Trio (part uno) - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #38

I was speaking to someone recently about this blog, I said that I try to keep it about ‘current’ music and he asked me a very pertinent question the answer to which I probably need to work out: What constitutes ‘current’? Well I’m not sure. I’ve written on here about albums from as far away as the sixties and I probably will again, but I’m trying to keep up to date on here. Sure Big Brother and the Holding Company are sweet, but you can find them pretty easily in their last 40 years of being around and if you haven’t then I assume you are a musical idiot and feel sorry for you. I’m trying to shed a light on things that are fading, short-runs of records where only a few remain to be snapped up, or little underground bands that might not be around next year because the churning seas of the underground music industry are so crushingly unforgiving in most cases. I’m not operating the ‘Four month rule’ because that’s a little too stringent; but blanketly I’ll be trying to keep it to releases from the last 3(ish) years. Music from the sixties was great but it’s around (for those not in the know, check out Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Electric Prunes, 13th Floor Elevators, the Seeds and Groundhogs for a starter). Feel free to fill the inbox with hatred when I inevitably break this rule next week by writing about Wishbone Ash or something.

I give the preceding as context for the following review, because I just know someone would accuse me of going for a not-yet-classic but not brand-new either but it’s well worth going back and checking out the three record project by a band shaping up to be very interesting indeed, Sobre a Máquina. This Rio trio contribute to that great-magnet thing I was discussing in my best of the year, where heads from all over the globe seem to have independently decided that grim drone-influenced heaviness lo-fi stylee is the sort of thing this dreadful world could do with more of. The main riff from the opening track of their most recent EP could be the touchstone for all these bands, it is very indicative of the whole scene; a precise punch paradoxically holding less distortion and more rumble than all the trad-metal seeping into the dullest of the e-zines. And it continues, across three records in the last year which straddle the lines between dark-ambient, electronic and metal. Tracks are divided carefully to focus on one idea and thus keep themselves highly individualistic and memorable. The guitar dronescapes (such as Garça from Areia if you can’t tell) recall a sort of jazzed-up Sunn O))) (and you can’t forget how much I loved them) where some of the gaps are filled in. This is the best way to do it, Sunn O))) have already done the post-black metal and Earth have already epitomised the zero-sum drone doom without anything to fill the titanic hour-and-a-bit gap except rumble. So the decision to start filling in with sparkling jazzy interludes and breach the long gaps of deafening silence with parts of a whole was a sharp and brave one; after all, later Earth albums have started to fill in the gaps in the sound to the equivalent of filling the gaps in Swiss cheese with cheap supermarket cheddar; it’s just all wrong!

I love the music, but what first attracted me to these guys is what they looked like. As soon as I saw the creepy Orphanage facemasks, I figured this was a buncha heads to be ignored at ones peril. I am awaiting an interview response, so I’ll probably post a second/updated blog next week or whenever they get back to me. This is yet another release for whom the thick distorted guitar from בלטה has crept in from the cold and is now making severe waves. I sure hope this is a new underground sound ‘cause I am really digging it.

Written under duress by Steven

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