added: 12 Feb 2013
// release date: 10 Jan 2013 // label: Beast Records
reviewer: Claudia A
Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to experience some sonic turbulence. Please fasten your seat belts now! Avondale Airforce
is a psychedelic/improvisational/experimental outfit based in the Hudson Valley region, New York State. The rock duo is comprised of guitarist-vocalists Stanton Warren
) and Peter Aaron
Avondale’s current album ‘S/T’
boasts a trippy sleeve design by James Marsh, however, if the sleeve design is trippy than the music surely is ‘out there’!
Most of the album’s ten tracks sound as if they were whipped up partly in Warhol’s Factory and aboard a space ship. It exudes an unmistakable “let’s play and see what happens” aura, but there’s a modern, urban industrial feel to it, too.
Opener ‘Lift Off’ sets the tone, and gives the impression that the likes of early Velvet Underground
, Amon Düul
, Pink Floyd
and Tangerine Dream
held a firm grasp over the album’s creative process.
It’s all incredibly free-form and above all, very guitar-driven (but not as we know it!). Oh, perhaps I should also mention that this is a 12” vinyl I’m reviewing here, so it has a Side A and a Side B to it.
Upon first listen I wouldn’t call the music instantly accessible, and it might help if one were in an altered state of mind while approaching what the duo have to offer. Try a few more spins on your turntable however, and it starts to grow on you.
Using a Fender Stratocaster, Hagstrom e-guitars, tremolo, distortion and reverb effects, a Fender Twin Reverb, Jaguar & Memphis slide guitars, drums and percussion sampler, vocals, and a big muff and wah treated Gibson L6S, you might get an idea as to the complexity and texture of the arrangements. Indeed, it’s a seemingly never-ending kaleidoscope of instruments and sounds we are confronted with.
The vocals are not always easy to make out, except on the surprisingly mellow and melodious ‘Come To Terms’ (Side B), when Stanton Warren sings “I am simply here because I am…” It all comes across as rather transcendental, and sums up the vibe of the album.
Instrumental track ‘Aztec Astronaut’ (Oaxaca) bears a strong nod to Hawkwind
and might well transport you into a pleasant trance, while the contrasting ‘Cicle Line’ (also instrumental) is a collision of cool and energetic groove beats.
Avondale Airforce’s ‘S/T’ is one of the most unconventional and unusual albums I’ve come across in quite some time, like a prog-sonic space concert. Which makes it all the more interesting.
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