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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Spanish Donkey - Raoul (Rare Noise, 2015) ****

By Paul Acquaro

The second Spanish Donkey release begins somewhere beyond where the last ended. Joe Morris' seething and scalding guitar is a hot iron pressed again the flesh, and the microtonal keyboard work of Jamie Saft is grinding and eviscerating.

Direct and relentless, the 33 minute epic 'Raoul' begins with Morris' fuzzed-out melody and drummer Mike Pride adding muscle and flair. As Saft creeps in on the organ, the tension rises and Morris begins a wholehearted embrace of the wah-wah pedal. The piece is a tremendous tone poem that could be dedicated to mastodons sinking into tarpits as lava pouring down a volcano ignites the forest around it.

The album is a less about the individual voices as it is the dark and foreboding movement of sound. It's at once sludgy, defiant, nuanced and textured. The shapes of the sounds are as important as the notes themselves which, like on the track 'Behavioral Sink' rises from the slash of Saft's organ and the metallic clang of Morris' guitar.

A hearty listen to say the least!

Available at the Downtown Music Gallery