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12 August 2009

Axolotl/Mouthus - '12 25 04' (Olde English Spelling Bee)

One of the few recorded meetings of Karl Bauer and his good friends Mouthus, this was done on a Christmas Day in New York, half a decade ago, and one doesn't have to strain to hear cold, blustery winds and winter moods soaking through. But it's also got the feel of a cramped, busy New York rehearsal room, as the spacious drones on side 1 eventually contract into a swirling game of bumper cars on side 2. The rock part of Mouthus' free rock game is subdued; it sounds like Axolotl is leading the charge. The drones and atmospherics that open this up are slow, as if they're more concerned with setting a pace than displaying surprising textures. The color palette isn't monochrome, but maybe carefully chosen (making this cover art a good choice). Yet, it all converges towards the horizon. The murkyness eventually takes over, but the bubbly organ part on side 2 is everpresent, producing a nice reference point for the grinding dirge to define itself against. Motion is slow, but there. With a pair of headphones and some determination, I'm sure this could take me to a special place. But as casual office ambience it suffers, too easy to tune out unless played too loud to make anything else possible. Is this type of music really aggressive in the way it demands serious listening?

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