Music » CD Reviews

The Six Parts Seven

Silence Magnifies Sound (Troubleman Unlimited)

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An instrumental act from the Kent area, the Six Parts Seven formed in 1995 when guitarist Allen Karpinski and his brother, drummer Jay Karpinski, both formerly of the Old Hearts Club, decided to give the post-rock thing a try. The band, which also includes bassist Jay Visker, guitarist Tim Gerak, and viola player Heather Wiker, released its first album, . . . In Lines and Patterns, two years ago and toured heavily to support it, often playing in art galleries as much as small clubs. And that would make sense, given that its music is inspired by highfalutin stuff like Chinese poetry (the band cites Li Po and Chuang Tzu as influences). Its follow-up album, Silence Magnifies Sound, does sound like the kind of music you might hear playing at a gallery opening. It's innocuous enough that it wouldn't disturb conversations and has a pristine quality suited to such establishments. While there is an off-putting pretentiousness about the band, it compares favorably to post-rock such as Mogwai, Tortoise, and Trans Am.

The band readily admits that the nine songs on Silence could be confused as one long track. However, there are moments that stand out -- say, in the plucky guitar workout in "The Day After the Day After Here" and the undulating rhythms in "In a Late Style of Fire." And all of the tracks are played beautifully, thanks to guitars and drums that never get too loud and viola and E-bow that can be heard clearly in the mix (see the elegant, nine-minute "Changing the Name of October" for proof). But too often, these precisely executed instrumentals amount to little more than aural wallpaper.

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