Graviton

Massless

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AllMusic Review by

As if contributing ideas to technical metal juggernaut Intronaut (rhyme intended) weren't enough to keep guitarist/vocalist Sacha Dunable busy, the new side project named Graviton finds him showcasing even more imagination of an entirely different nature on 2011's deceivingly titled Massless. Where Intronaut's material is characterized by daunting, hyperactive complexity, on Massless Dunable leads a group of coconspirators cherry-picked from fellow Californians National Sunday Law into a far more tranquil, or at least consistently restrained, ambient post-metal landscape...with benefits. To begin: the opening "Mu Lepton" is all hypnotic crescendos and deadpan monastic chants, while its partner in crime "Boson" (yes, all songs here are named after subatomic particles -- nice gimmick) incorporates a disconcerting tempo and echoing piano chords into the package. "Fermion" escalates matters with dense layers of computer-processed guitars, instantly calling to mind Justin Broadrick's Jesu, while the ensuing "Anti-Mesons" chucks out all rock pretensions to dive off the cliff of techno-rave electronics. However, no technological trickery whatsoever mars the Spartan acoustic intro for album highlight "Hadron," which duly develops into a dreamy Pink Floyd exercise akin to recent works by England's Anathema; then it's time to pummel every instrument at hand (with less impressive results) on twin bruisers "Tachyon" and "Quarks" (think Pelican, Earth, Mouth of the Architect, etc.). Next up, the atmospheric sound collage "Baryon" features surprisingly melodic echoes of Fleet Foxes (yes, you heard right), the slippery "Mesons" skates this way and that on layered slide guitars and electro hiccups, and the closing "Photon" sends listeners off on scary, preternatural robo-country soundtrack music. Phew! All of this variety may prove a tad much to digest for some, but that doesn't change the fact that Graviton should go down as one of the more compelling side projects that fans of forward-thinking music will likely hear in 2011 -- a job well done.

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