I returned from a three-day vacation in Eastern Washington’s wine country last night. For three days I listened to no new music of any kind, other than a few songs from a gypsy rock band named Diego’s Umbrella because that’s what one fascinating young winemaker started streaming when I asked him what music he would pick to go along with the art on his label and the fabulous Portuguese red wine in his bottles. When I returned to metal for a couple of hours last night, I experienced an episode of synchronicity (or serendipity — I’m never quite sure how those words differ from each other and am too lazy to look up the definitions).
I don’t mean to suggest that the following three selections of music sound alike (they really don’t). But they nevertheless sounded to me as if they belonged together, in part because they’re unconventional, in part because they reveal technical adroitness harnessed to creative adventurousness, and in part because they tend to twist your thought patterns into different shapes while also triggering more primitive responses.
Before Geryon, before Krallice, before Nicholas McMaster and Lev Weinstein moved to New York from Chicago, there was Astomatous. That was the band that these two talented folks used as a vehicle for their creative impulses before moving on to other projects (including the two mentioned in the previous sentence). Astomatous released one album in 2006 (The Beauty of Reason), and they had developed material for a second one, but never brought it to fruition. However, they decided to use some of that material as the basis for a new Geryon EP (Astomatous), which they released through Bandcamp not long ago, without advance fanfare. Continue reading »