First Tone

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An album of live recordings titled only by their date and place of recording, 1998's First Tone is an excellent example of post-rock collective improvisation. Sticking to the more placid end of the pool, the group constructs slowly undulating waves of sound out of keyboards, woodwinds, and guitar, all of them treated with a number of effects pedals and delay units that even the Cocteau Twins would find excessive. The resulting music tends to sound like the first few minutes of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" given an ambient remix and placed on an endless loop. The two centerpiece tracks, recorded in Eagle Rock, PA, on December 28, 1997, are the spaciest and most lulling; the two shorter surrounding tracks up the cacophony level a hair. Not to be listened to while operating heavy machinery, First Tone is nonetheless most intriguing for drone fans.

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