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CD Feature/ S.Q.E.: "Rise of the Vulcans"

img  Tobias

Eclectcism is a double-edged sword, but J Greco knows how to weild it. Having just released an oriental.tinged 7’’ on Drone Records, the man who calls himself the “Fruitless Hand” is back with his second full-length under his SQE moniker and again it’s as much a homogenous and darkly shaded affair as a colourful conglomerate of styles and modes of expression. And, despite many energetic moments, a slightly introspective one as well: We’re not even half-way through summer and this is already the first harbinger of autumn.

Greco deserves some special attention for the fact alone that he got away with a dusty, staggering percussion groove on an otherwhise rhythm-less lahel (the title track of the aforementioned “Wahid ep”), and still sounding 100% at home. The B-side to that tour de force, “Epitaph 3”, consisted of a scintillating string arrangement and the same theme now opens proceedings on “Rise of the Vulcans” (out on renowned Old Europa Cafe), this time merging with a bouncing ragga bass, sweetly whispered vocals culled from 1001 wet dreams, tinkling bell-melodies and abrasive acid stabs to make for a danceable and majestic hymn. Dub must seem an obvious genre of choice for Greco, who is a natural bass player and the reverberations and subsonic pressure from his smoke-filled echo-chamber pervade every corner of the album, albeit not always as obvious as on the deceivingly lazy “narcotic”, a fear-filled walk through the void. A rubbery and dominant bass line also permeates the fever vision of “House on the Hill”, on which Tony Wakeford contributes some both promising and threatening messages: “I make your dreams come true and your nightmare’s too”. What starts as gloomy piece of gothic poetry suddenly transforms into a bizarre hybrid between rock and electronica thanks to the sudden insertion of some sad guitar drops and it is from this moment that the album takes off into a suprising and unexpected direction: Dark folk fairytales (“S.W.A.K.”, “Darker Globe”), apocalyptic soundscapes (“Tweater Eater”) and frenzied outbursts of noise and madness (“PM”) are all part of the package, as are a plethora of guests and instruments (horns, viola, “sonic groaning”). Thanks to some clever thematic and sound-oriented links between these elements, Greco has managed to form a freely flowing conjunction, which, despite its length of almost an hour, never gets tiresome.

What must also be noted is the fact that the album, which, at least on quite a few occasions,  heralds the more melancholic seasons of the year, has steered clear from being a burden- This is in no way a depressed or pessimistic offering, but, simply put, an exciting, challenging and invigorating record. And you never actually notice its diverse influences, until you really start searching for them. A true sword master indeed.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: S.Q.E.
Homepage: Old Europa Cafe

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