Sideways Through Sound 12-04-2017: Crucible
Sideways Through Sound Spotlight Album I: Here Lies Man – ‘S/T’ (Riding Easy)
What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?
In short, that’s the underlying vibe to the self-titled debut by Here Lies Man. The L.A. based quintet is founded and conceptualized by Marcos Garcia of Antibalas, bringing his erudite experience of West African rhythms and music to the more riff-based foundations of heavy rock. The results are an incredibly catchy and refreshing twist on classic forms, without sounding forced and trite like some sort of mash-up attempt. Here Lies Man merges and expands musical traditions organically, utilizing the talents of drummer Geoff Mann (son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) and a host of skilled musicians to make Garcia’s vision a reality.
“The repetitive guitar figures that happen in Afrobeat music are very close to heavy rock guitar riffs,” Garcia explains. “This music is based on the clave. It’s the musical algorithm that the rhythms revolve around. It’s what gives it integrity and provides the basis for the musical conversation that’s happening. I knew I wanted it to be psychedelic and heavy, and I wanted to be expanding on a musical tradition rather than pretending to be creating something new.”
And that expansion is the brilliant, hazy, psychedelic, hook-laden 8-song masterwork Here Lies Man.
Sideways Through Sound Spotlight Album II: Elkhorn – ‘The Black River (Debacle)
Elkhorn is a folk/psych-rock guitar duo featuring Jesse Sheppard on twelve-string acoustic and Drew Gardner on electric. This music interweaves the extended folk tradition with psychedelic improvisation.
Elkhorn’s sound is rooted in the earthy, traditional fingerpicking of Sheppard with Gardner’s restrained, passionate cascades of improvised melodic phrases flowing through. They move freely between several different traditions; from American Primitive to Psych Rock, from Hindustani to Mauritanian, from Krautrock to Jazz; pulling from players as diverse as Robbie Basho, Sonny Sharrock, Ben Chasny and David Gilmour. Elkhorn combines the past and future, and mixes traditional and avant-garde approaches in a rich multilayered music that shifts fluidly from pre-rock to post-rock.
Gardner and Sheppard grew up together in the deep woods and rotting industrial husks of central New Jersey and are long time musical collaborators. Their duo concept has come together over the last few years of intense woodshedding. Sheppard is a Philadelphia-based filmmaker who has worked with artists such as Glenn Jones, Daniel Bachman, and Nathan Bowles. His performance documentary featuring Jack Rose, “The Things That We Used To Do”, came out on Strange Attractors Audio House in 2010. Gardner is a multi-instrumentalist who has lead bands featuring avant-garde musicians such as John Tchicai and Sabir Mateen, and often conducts experimental collaborations on the fringes of the New York improv music scene.
Fresh off their debut tape on Beyond Beyond is Beyond, this incredible duo fuses a rich vein of American primitive with psych, jazz, and improv. The result is a nearly perfect album that wildly bounds through the American story of guitar in the 20th century. It is a high wire act of the highest order.