Friday, August 20, 2010
Galena - Grave News for You
Galena is the solo project of Billy Sprague, co-owner of Oakland-based Sanity Muffin label, and this stellar cassette represents his first batch of released material in five years.
“Grave News for You” opens in a whirlpool of whining synth and keyboard stabs, then gives away into a thudding metallic landscape of chubby beats, hard static and spiraling tapeloops. Next in line is what sounds like distorted lawnmower, cool bubbling outerspace aquariums and handclaps. Mammoth keyboard lines and steady kicking drums. Bizarre, kaleidoscopic instruments that haven’t been invented yet. And masterfully weaving together each of these compositions are coy, slinky ambient bits—small shards of loss and love that are both confusing and haunting.
Side B leads you on with bursts of static, heavy machinery, and then, you’re hit face-first by a monolith of massive techo-infused beats and chopped up spoken word samples. Swollen and sputtering with out of control gain levels and throbbing dynamics, these hammering rhythms are all at once ethereal and firmly grasped in childhood nightmares. Then, it’s back to a shimmering interlude before distorted Rolands and the rustling sounds of wrapping paper open the door to yet another out of this world rhythm: this one is taken in through a bright and optimistic cartoon lens that features a soaring symphony of distorted far-flung sunny tones. Amazing.
Hands down one of the best releases of the year on any format. Truly awe-inspiring.