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Friendly Bears-Infidel?/Castro!: A Split Experience

Imagine my surprise when a bona-fide LP promo hit my mailbox not too long ago-I mean, LP's these days are more nostalgia than anything else, right? Give the folks at Rice Control Records some credit for coming up with a unique marketing scheme here in 2003, offering up these two unique bands on one 12" album (thankfully they included a CDR of the tunes for my non-record player house!) that contains very modern and hip sounds, although both are very different from each other.

The opening 11-minute cut is from Infidel?/Castro!, titled "The 49-day Period Between Live (Memories and Premonitions)", and is a cacaphonous assualt of nightmare sounds. I wouldn't necessarily classify this as electronic music, but it's close, and quite full of raging, non-melodic noise. Composed and performed by the duo of George Korein & Colin Marston from Philadelphia, these two manage to take sounds from a trumpet and violin, and manipulate them every which way into a style that has moments of jazz, metal, prog, and everything in between, yet defies any genre. You'll swear that you hear guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums in the mix, and I'm really not sure if there is, but these two have been able to process a host of sounds into a totally mindblowing experience. Listener friendly it is not, but intriguing, yes. There's more to come with their full-length release to be titled Bioentropic Damage Fractal, which says it all with that title.

The four tracks included from New York City's Friendly Bears is a totally different beast. Labeled as "math rock", which appears to be the hot new musical style these days and very indicative of the underground indy scene, Friendly Bears take jazz, fusion, punk energy, and the complexities of prog and throw it all into a blender. What you get is intelligent instrumental music that is extremely intricate, yet never pummels the listener with heavy riffs and incessant noodling. The trumpet passages from Tim Byrnes are the "calm before the storm" so to speak on these four tracks, as his jazzy melodies sooth your ears before the guitars of Mary Halvorson and Rich Bennett weave aggressive and intricate lines above the steady drum work of Andrew Greenwald. "Horse" is a great example of this "push and pull" style, as the band fluctuates from slashing, King Crimson-inspired guitar chords to Miles Davis-like sonic trumpet lines. Not as "go for the throat" as Dysrhythmia, but certainly Friendly Bears has a lot to offer, and I'd be interested to hear more from this band.

The LP sports some excellent front and back cover artwork, and is available by itself or with the additional CDR. Click on the link below for purchasing information. Support the indy rock scene, and take a chance on this enjoyable release!

Added: December 18th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Click here for more information
Hits: 2902
Language: english

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