Reviewed by: Jane Roser
Maybe I’m too cynical or just not very avant-garde, but I have to admit I just don’t get this album.
Inaugurated in 2015 by percussionist Thor Harris after several years touring with avant-rock band Swans, Thor & Friends was formed as a vehicle for musical experimentation with a rotating cast of Austin-based musicians. The three core members are Harris (percussion, wind instruments), Peggy Ghobani (marimba) and Sarah “Goat” Gautier (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, organ, voice, mellotron and piano).
Recorded in Albuquerque, New Mexico and produced by Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost (A Hawk & A Hacksaw), and John Dieterich (Deerhoof), the eponymous album is a hypnotic, new age blend of sonic lullabies and ringing xylophones…a whole lot of xylophones.
Surreal and trippy, like the soundtrack to a David Lynch film, each track repetitively blends into one another and feels so chill that it’d stick a dog to a fire hydrant. I listened to this album twice just to make sure I gave it a fair chance, but I still found it disengaging and uninteresting. Near the end it just tap danced on my last nerve- my mind was not blown and I was not emotionally invested, just irked.
If you’re lying in your tie-dye blanketed bed with the strobe lights twirling and the incense smoking, this is a good album to relax by. Otherwise take a pass and throw on some Zeppelin.