Friday, February 24, 2017

Ga'an ‎– Ga'an (2009, Usa)


This Chicago band's self-titled debut has been floating around since 2009 in a cruelly limited cassette-­only edition (why not go for eight-track next time, folks?), but early this year it got a fine vinyl reissue on the local Captcha label; I don't know what I expected to happen when these dark cosmic incantations became more widely available, but I'll admit I was the tiniest bit surprised when all heaven failed to break loose. Ga'an frequently and not without reason attract comparisons to Magma, Goblin, and Popol Vuh, and their debut's six longish tracks pulse, snake, and clatter—they're fond of meters built on sevens—beneath the chants and wails of vocalist and keyboardist Lindsay Powell, who reminds me ever so slightly of Grace Slick. It's cultish, occult, and thoroughly hypnotic—music for communing with a technologically advanced outer-space mushroom god, or for soundtracking a movie about same. The band, a quartet when Ga'an was recorded, is now a trio: Powell, who also plays solo as Fielded, and original drummer Seth Sher, who's never a mere timekeeper, have been joined by Tyson Torstensen on bass and synth. This lineup will release an album called Black Equus on Captcha in late summer or early fall, once the cover art's ready—the band will have homemade cassette copies tonight—and the new material delivers on the promise of Ga'an's stunning debut. The nearly 20-minute "Call of the Black Equus" in particular has a satisfyingly albumlike structure all by itself—a little like "Sister Ray," except with less jizz and violence and more messages from the Pleiades. —Monica Kendrick

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