Album Review

Pumice – “Raft ” – [Last Visible Dog Records]

Max Level   1/8/2006   A Library, CD

New Zealand’s Stefan Neville (also in psyche-improv group Ohm) is Pumice, singing and playing everything here. Based on the ultra-compressed sound quality, I’d guess these multi-overdub recordings were made at home on cassette. Building up from a folk-rock-ish foundation, he adds loud feedback guitar, fuzzy keyboards, plodding drums, weird loops and echoes, various noises, bursts of volume at unexpected times. My picks: Track 5, a stately instrumental, and Track 10, a gently repeating guitar lullabye with a machine-type hum hovering in the background, and a false ending about 2 minutes before the actual ending. Tracks 2, 4, 7, and 9 have vocals. Tracks 3 and 8 have vocals too, but on those tracks they’re incomprehensibly distorted and are really just noise elements. All tracks here are diamonds in the rough and quite enjoyable, mined from someplace deep in NZ’s underground.

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