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A GRAPE DOPE, "MISSING DRAGONS"

Galaxia
Showcasing his repertoire on the keyboard, sampler and mixing console under the alias of A Grape Dope, Chicago-based drummer John Herndon (Tortoise, Isotope 217) presents six new varying tracks that make up his latest EP. No stranger to the producer's chair, in recent years Herndon has provided re-mixes for other artists, while also releasing a few of his own dub-influenced compositions via the Hefty Records Immediate Action series. "Action: Showered Us" leads off the disc with its infectious live samba school-styled rhythms and muted basslines that kick the track into high gear, complete with handclaps. From the Hip Hop collective Anitcon, Dose One lends his distinct, multi-layered vocals to the bouncy "Red Hat Attack" over busy programmed machine beats, staccato low-end and near dissonant organ drones. The compositional sounds and juxtaposition of car crashes and toddlers-in-the-park themes make for an odd yet very interesting track. The disc's biggest surprise and definite highlight is the soulful ballad "I'll Spread It" which features Herndon's emotional vocoder stylings along with some tender bass and chord progressions that lilt and sway just beautifully. The underlying purr of additional electronic elements round out the composition nicely. Herndon's interesting compositional style and shifting rhythms draw from several different influences, yet still come across as distinct in their own setting. The strong, at times angular compositions on Missing Dragons should dispel the myth that drummers are only capable of counting and hitting stuff. 

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Review of the Day

Loren Mazzacane Connors/Christina Carter, "Meditations on the Ascension of Blind Joe Death Vol. One"
John Fahey was a master musician, completely redefining the guitar and pioneering several styles that are distinctly and wholly his own. Blind Joe Death was a name he ascribed to a few tracks on his first album of the same name. John Fahey is Blind Joe Death and, as the sleeve of this record suggests, Blind Joe is still very much alive. Loren Mazzacane Connors and Christina Carter (along with artist Conrad Capistran and Byron Coley) have composed the first in a proposed series of duo recordings dedicated to the memory and work of John Fahey.
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