Ulaan Khol

1

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Steven R. Smith's many explorations into psychedelia as broadly defined, from noise overload to explorations in a various of older musical traditions, continues on his latest incarnation as Ulaan Khol. 1, the first of a planned trilogy, finds him in rock band mode, with the nine untitled tracks on the album very much calling to mind a number of solo guitar experimenters in the past, most especially Dave Pearce of Flying Saucer Attack and Roy Montgomery. There's the same blend of often aggressive crunch and restrained serenity that the former first made his name with, while the latter's exploratory grace also echoes throughout the disc. That said, the album is not a flat-out tribute to either by any means -- if anything, songs like the second piece, with its near-pop hooks buried under the exultant rampage of feedback, find their own unique logic. Other fine moments include the third song (a low tone providing a basic but effective rhythm as crumbling noise swirls in the background) and the sixth (calm drones punctuated by a bubbling series of bass-heavy echoes and rumbles).

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