Twenty Songs Less
Gastr del Sol
Jim O'Rourke – electronics,
John McEntire – drums
Bundy K. Brown – acoustic bass
David Grubbs – acoustic guitar, piano
in Chicago in 1993.
Painting by Paul Green.
Reissued in 2006 by Minority Records, Prague, CZ.
7“ clear vinyl EP (45rpm). Limited edition of 1000 copies.
retail price: € 8,50
of the most critically acclaimed experimental groups of the last
decade, Gastr del Sol creates songs from pieces
of disparate musical fragments (namely haunting, repeated guitar
and piano riffs and otherworldly tape manipulation) and pastes
these fragments back together with little regard for linear motion.
Gastr Del Sol is an oft-cited stalwart of what is sometimes termed
the “post-rock“ movement
of the 1990s. Based in Chicago, Gastr del Sol explored idiosyncratic sonic textures,
veering from avant-garde punk to atonal songcraft to Musique concrète
to composition for small orchestra.
The group began as the brain-child of David Grubbs, an alumnus of the Louisville,
KY punk rock scene that produced Squirrel Bait and Slint, the former of which
he was a member. A few years after Grubbs’s arrival in Chicago, his esoteric
punk group Bastro metamorphosed into Gastr del Sol.
With the release of 1993’s “The Serpentine Similar” on Teenbeat
Records, Grubbs and his fromer Bastro colleagues Bundy K. Brown and John McEntire
traded the more traditional arrangements of punk rock for a literate, meandering
yet often poignant approach. The slippery tones of Brown’s bass provided
a counterpoint to Grubbs’s clean electric guitar and naked piano.
In the following year, the guitarist, composer and all-around production guru
Jim O’Rourke entered the fray and Brown (who at the time was busy enough
with his other projects, including–with McEntire–the seminal post-rock
act Tortoise) left the band. With O’Rourke’s arrival, Gastr del Sol
became a more or less equal collaboration between he and Grubbs. Although it
is difficult to spot precisely who did what, it appears that lyrics were Grubbs’s
domain and production and tape manipulation were O’Rourke’s, with
both of these able musicians handling instrumental duties as desired, with the
occasional appearence of McEntire on drums and other musicians on an auxiliary