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(42:23, 'Metronome The City')
TRACK LIST: 1. Spaceracer 4:21 2. Metatron's Cube 1:42 3. Gesticulating Replicant 3:12 4. Popsicle Gang 2:19 5. Beach 9:16 6. Wonton / Taun-Taun 8:15 7. Apophenia 2:51 8. Desertrix 10:27 LINEUP: Marc LaPorte – keyboards William Gilbert – drums Pat Condon – guitars Brad Theard – bass
Prolusion. The US band METRONOME THE CITY was formed sometime around the year 2000, and has been an active live and recording unit for a number of years. They have three albums to their name, the last two of which are currently commercially available. "Isonomia" is their most recent studio production, and was self-released in 2015.
Analysis. It is difficult to place Metronome The City within a designated tradition as the band’s name might suggest. It's not so much a case of exploring hard to define landscapes and soundscapes, as it is about diversity and variation I guess, although the former is an aspect of the totality as well. This is a band that opts to open their album with a slice of space rock meets electronic, possibly with some new wave elements thrown into the blender as well. Dark, booming sounds and effects contrasted effectively and beautifully with cold, sharp light toned sound effects, with an effects treated vocal detail as the proverbial and possibly alien icing on the cake at that. A stunning opening track on many levels, which is followed by a short, concise run into landscapes with a fairly strong Robert Fripp and King Crimson vibe and mood to them, first and foremost by way of a dominant guitar sound and style most fans of the artists mentioned will find familiar sounding. A token excursion into more of a jazz-oriented territory is next in line, then some kind of eerie psychedelic soundscape with a liberal array of effects and dramatic sounds used, and then the first half of the album (literally speaking too, as this is a vinyl LP) concludes with a gentle, melancholic psychedelic composition revolving around a delicate, light toned lead motif provided by the guitar. Five songs, five fairly different styles and five rather different moods explored. Variations on psychedelic oriented landscapes follow on the second side of this album, with two longer compositions and a short, concise one wedged in between them. The most impressive of this lot is the concluding composition Desertrix, where the band opts to further expand their palette by including a liberal number of textured guitar layers, with varying degrees of intensity, in a manner that begs for the expression post-rock to be mentioned one way or the other. It is a cleverly made piece of music too, using ebbs and flows in intensity for instruments, as well as arrangements to maintain a distinct presence, good momentum and tension. The guitar is the dominant instrument on this creation, although the often inventive and expressive rhythms merit a mention here as well, as a key feature. This is really well made music through and through, and while not all the material comes across as all that interesting, that is presumably something that comes with the territory for a band that opts for a such a strong degree of variation on an album. At least they cannot be regarded as a band playing it safe, and that spirit of adventure to the material present on deserves some credit.
Conclusion. "Isonomia" is a challenging production to describe in an accurate manner, and even more so when it comes to summarize points described and defining a target audience. As elements of psychedelic rock are something of an ongoing feature, a taste for music of that specific nature is required. I'd suspect that those among that crowd who also know and have a taste for more eclectic progressive rock akin to King Crimson, as well as post-rock, might be the ones who will find this album most enjoyable.
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