Music » CD Reviews

Total Life

Total Life (Animal Disguise)

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Growing has always been one of America's most listenable drone outfits. Not only does the New York duo churn out thick and heavy washes of feedback; it crafts pop hooks as well. That of course is a strange thing to say of a band that fuses '60s minimalism and stoner-metal atmospherics into 20-minute soundscapes. But guitarist Joe DeNardo and bass player Kevin Doria also understand the importance of beauty -- something they learned from Brian Eno and his proto-new wave ambience.

Total Life, Doria's solo debut, consists of two extended pieces: "A Thousand Lights" and "Peaks." In both, playful harmonic patterns (think the alien synth-speak in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) are submerged in crackling static and rumbling fuzz. Neither piece, however, exhibits Growing's microscopic sound-sculpting. That's because Doria isn't going for the meditative and sublime. He keeps things rough in an attempt to rattle walls while he pours searing distortion into our minds.

But Doria can never be a true sonic terrorist. Ultimately, he's a child of the white light, a fact that's embedded in the DNA of this strange music. I mean, it's not called Total Life for nothing.

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