Magnog

Magnog

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Magnog's first, self-titled effort -- the only album the band recorded and released as such -- is as perfectly descriptive of American '90s space rock as anything else released during that decade. With a creative trio in place, its members often playing more than one instrument over the course of the sessions, the group drew on everything from heavy-duty feedback howl and drones to soft, haunting acoustic guitar to create the best stateside equivalent to the similarly genre-hopping work of Flying Saucer Attack. Unlike Dave Pearce's outfit, though, Magnog steered clearer of any singing outside of the very occasional vocal, letting its thick, mysteriously beautiful music -- produced quite well by the band and Andy Brown -- do the speaking for it. Unsurprisingly, a full CD's worth of material was readily created, with the shortest song almost five minutes long and the lengthiest over a quarter of an hour. Ash Ra Tempel is a logical reference point as well, given the basic power trio lineup gone totally bonkers and out there, though with less emphasis on post-Hendrix prowess and more on finding and establishing a hazy, gone trip. "Relay," with its heavy-as-hell riffs and distorted mix creating an almost dreamlike state, and "Shapeshifter," building up with a slow intensity that never fully explodes but seems more than once like it's about to, capture the threesome's abilities beautifully. More than once the trio comes up with gentler moments -- Phil Drake's chime on "Learning Forgetfulness" makes for a summery piece that suggests a shoegazing version of late Galaxie 500, at least in atmosphere if not exact sound. "A Moments Seam," the only song with a sung vocal, calls up spirits of Spacemen 3's less immediately frazzled side, though drummer Dana Shinn doesn't sound entirely calm with Drake's guitar snarls wafting through the mix like lurking spirits.

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