Exhaust - Self-Titled
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Exhaust
Self-Titled

Aidan Girt is one of those musicians that must be constantly working on new things. Not only is he the drummer for Godspeed You Black Emperor, but he also provides the drum action for this release and is also currently working on another solo project under the guise of One Speed Bike. All the projects he's working on seem to have very little in common, which is something that either keeps him sane, with moments that lean toward something slightly more crazy. Perhaps it's a combination of both, though, which makes for some interesting music on all ends.

Originally released back in 1998 on vinyl only, the self-titled album by the trio (Krieger Gordon plays clarinet, bass and guitar, and Mike Zabitsky cuts and chops everything on the reel-to-reels) was re-released by Constellation earlier on in 2000 on the CD format to help expose the group to even more people. Those expecting anything even remotely resembling Godspeed should turn back now. The groups sound is a combination of eerie atmospherics and drumming that ranges from hip-hop to jungle inspired. The 10 tracks on the disc clock in at only about 34 minutes total, but the group manages to cover quite a bit of territory in that time, even if some of it does sound more like inspired noodling than anything else.

The album kicks off with the very haunting drone of "A History Of Guerrilla Warfare," before some ragged-edge drumming kicks in behind it all and samples of a static-filled television broadcast weave their way through the desolate space. On "Metro Mile End," the group again combines some of the same elements (including some squiggled-out radio noise), but this time the difference is the bass clarinet adding a lonely feel to the whole proceedings. The third track "Homemade Maggot Beer" is a thirty second thrash-core blast of crazy drumming and noise. Not really needed, but hey.

The album really picks up on the super-rich low-end of "We Support Iran In Their Bid To Win The 1998 World Cup." More electronic sounding than other tracks on the disc, it's plenty dark and dubby. "Two Years On Welfare" finds Gordon teasing the listener with a funky bassline until Girt goes wild on the drums later on in the track. "Wool Fever" is another track that finds the group in top form (and sounding more like a live band) while "This Is Our (Borrowed) Equipment" and "A Medley Of Late Night Buffet Commercials" sound like something that could have come off a Digital Hardcore release.

The album closes out with a solo clarinet piece, and it's a fine way to wind down the rather eclectic album. It changes gears quite a few times and will probably throw quite a few people off, but it's an interesting listen and far from a bad release from the group. If you're feeling like a little manipulated live drum and bass (and clarinet) experimentation, you won't go wrong.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00