Feb 272012

(Gaia [ex-TNOTB] returns to our site with a review of the 2011 EP by Sacramento’s Giant Squid )

Cenotes – EP
Giant Squid
[Translation Loss]

1. Tongue Stones (Megaptera Megachasmacarcharias)
2. Mating Scars (Isurus Metridium)
3. Snakehead (Channidae Erectus)
4. Figura Serpentinata (Pycnopodia Sapien)
5. Cenotes (Troglocambarus Maclanei)

35 minutes

Giant Squid’s music is as strange and rare and phenomenal as their namesake. Their works are subtle and nuanced, a delicate orchestration of oceanic sounds dancing lithely with the guitar’s heavy-handed jig. The band’s ecological philosophy deserts their urban surroundings of hometown Sacramento, California; you’ll be more likely to find them roaming a nature reserve or peering into rock pools by the sea.

It is that natural curiosity that shines through their body of work, most noticeably on 2009’s full length The Ichthyologist, where multiple guests leant their instrumentation to Giant Squid’s complex orchestration. Flutes, banjos, violins, cellos, trumpets, oboes, all additions that were explored to their limits and bent to main songwriter Aaron Gregory’s will. The Ichthyologist got them signed; it was that good.

Now Giant Squid return with the EP Cenotes (suh-noh-tees), a comparatively simpler record, the grandiose composition stripped away and no guests are involved. This is Giant Squid spouting their own black and inky concoctions. Continue reading »

Aug 052011

Our metallic bro BadWolf e-mailed me late yesterday with news that NorCal’s Giant Squid has a new album on the way, with a new song posted for streaming. On the one hand, Giant Squid’s music isn’t my usual kind of thing. If you amalgamated various genre tags that the band itself uses, I think that would be a fair description: post-metal-art-doom-rock-sludge. I also have trouble with Aaron John Gregory’s quirky, high-pitched, occasionally screechy style of clean singing.

On the other hand, the music on the band’s last album (the only one I’ve heard) — The Ichthyologist — was original, unpredictable, and uninhibited, and I can respect that, even if it hasn’t seen many plays on my iPod. Plus, I do like the band’s use of down-tuned sludge-chords in juxtaposition with airier melodies. Plus, there’s that album cover for the new one, Cenotes, which is due for release on October 25 on Translation Loss Records. Fucking great, weird piece of art, also created by Aaron John Gregory. Plus, we’ve already gone off our usual beaten path today with that deathstep thing.

After the jump, you’ll find a player that will stream the first song to be released from Cenotes, “Figura Serpentinata (Pycnopodia sapien)”. The track list for the new album, plus streams of the band’s previous discography can be found at their Bandcamp page or their facebook. Continue reading »