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Tuesday, December 12

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Transmission
« Tomorrow Never Knows Starts Tonight! XXX Dance Party »

Album Wed Jan 16 2008

Clang Your Head

Back in early 2007, Thrill Jockey introduced listeners to the work of Arbouretum when it released the Baltimore quartet's sophomore album, Rites of the Uncovering. Nearly a year later finds the label releasing the first proper full-length CD by Human Bell, which hits stores on January 29.

Human Bell is effectively a collaborative side-project involving Arbouretum frontman Dave Heumann and former Lungfish bassist Nathan Bell. For the new self-titled LP, both musicians strap on their six-strings and unfurl seven instrumental tracks of exploratory fretwork. Half-composed and half-improvised, each song starts out simply and deliberately, with the duo setting the stage with basic structure and melody before setting off for more complex and expansive domains. There's plenty of cohesion by way of counterpoint and complement throughout, and there's some additional instrumental accompaniment to flesh things out a bit. The album as a whole is intricate in some parts, downright hefty in others, and admittedly borders on the soporific from time to time. But just as the whole effort seems to have exhausted its musical vocab, things take a denser, more foreboding turn in the album's final stretch. Some hazy, haunting hornwork threads "Ephaphatha (Be Opened)" with a droning eeriness, while "The Singing Trees" digs into a heavily churning and reverberous blues.

Deeply indebted to the work of Neil Young and John Fahey, and suffused with prog-y English folk-jazz trimmings, Human Bell is very much a guitar record. It's moody and evocative in a way that's best suited for soundtracking those lazier and more contemplative afternoons.

[mp3]: Human Bell – "The Singing Trees"

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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