The Tenth Corner


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The Tenth Corner Review

by Richie Unterberger

Industrial/avant-garde rock guitar veteran Richard Franecki was at the helm of Vocokesh's fourth album, a collection of dark instrumentals evoking charred post-nuclear vistas. Three of the seven pieces were conceived as "alternate soundtrack material" to Michaelangelo Antonioni's film Zabriskie Point and Alejandro Jodorowsky's films El Topo and The Holy Mountain. But as bleak as those weird early-'70s movies were, they were a romp in the park compared to the clangorous drone Franecki and his bandmates summon here. Franecki pulls out a bunch of stops to conjure a wide array of buzzing, scraping, reverberant textures and flutters, not only on guitar, but also on bass and electronics. If he ever met an uplifting riff or something resembling a hummable rock song structure, though, there's no evidence of it here. For the tracks are not so much tunes as pulsating waves of grim ambient sustained notes and patterns, with some faint echoes of the guitar soloing of the psychedelic era. This is suitable mood music for those in a particularly somber postmodern state of mind, ameliorated only slightly by the grand choral effects on the 15-minute "The Holy Mountain." But the repetitive grind, not to mention the disc's length (65 minutes), will tax the attention span of those not at home on this particular Desolation Row.

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