CHANNEL SURFING WITH THE ASTROGLIDES - The Astroglides (Fast Music)
OK, get a piece of paper and pencil because you're going to need to write some of this down. On second thought, don't waste your time. This one may even leave Stephen Hawking scratching his head, if he could scratch his head that is. Here goes...

The Astroglides consider themselves a "SurfCore" band, a fancy term which means they are part of an overcrowded genre concerned primarily with worshipping at the feet of Dick Dale, scouring pawn shops, garage sales, and dank cellars for vintage Fenders amps and reverb units, and cramming every possible second of dead air with staccato picking and heavy twang.
Despite the fact that most, if not all, of surf/instro music sounds the same, with a Laika & The Cosmonauts album barely distinguishable from that of, say, the Space Cossacks, I could listen to it until I'm no longer eligible for the census.

What immediately and obviously sets the Astroglides off from the rest of their tone-obsessed brethren is the fact they're from Israel, a country not exactly known as a mecca of tubes, crunchers, and kick-outs. Throwing flutes, darbukas, chromaharps, didgeridoos, theremins, cabasas, xylophones, vibraphones, trumpets, and trombones into the mix may seem sacrilege to
purists, but actually results in a sound that at times is fresh as a newly racked bottle of suds.

The Astroglides manage to keep all of the instro bases covered on "Channel Surfing," i.e., exotica, spy/secret agent themes, science fiction and spaghetti western soundtracks, and basic surf. The first forty seconds of "Tropically Disturbed" sound like that tranquil moment in most Tarzan flicks just before some big cat attempts to separate his head from his neck. Then guitarists Ran Mosessco and The Baron J jump in and impatiently start flat picking, accompanied by bongos and xylophone. Imagine if Dale had filled in for Johnny Thunders on the New York Dolls' cover of R&B chestnut "Stranded In The Jungle" and you're getting warm.

Drummer Idan "Gonzales" Izmirly is another impatient Astroglider, stepping all over the beautiful tone Mosessco and The Baron coax out of their instruments about thirty seconds into "Cruisin' Down Menahem Begin Blvd" as if suddenly goosed with a cattle prod.

"Inspector Neer" and "The Man With The Golden Reverb" mine the fertile territory of Henry Mancini and John Williams film soundtracks and from there it's on to Rod Serling territory with "Nervous Man In A $4 Room," the Astroglides aping the Ventures, Marketts, and countless others before them by employing the "Twilight Zone" main theme as a jumping-off point for some six-string shin humping. No surprise then that the title is drawn from an episode of the 1960's TV show. With "The Adventures Of Rabbi Jacob," however, things get a little more uh, unconventional, with vibraphone carrying the melody insteady of guitars.

Ditto "Crime & The Law," with trombones and trumpets ducking in for a quick visit as well. "Pascua Negra" and "Meat Cleavage" herald the arrival of a new genre, "instru-metal," and the results are as messy as it sounds, Metallica joining Megadeth in between psychotherapy sessions for a quick round of downstrumming and mai tais in the tiki hut.

The vital signs of the world of surf/instro may be flatlining, but with their throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach, the Astroglides shout "Clear!" and hit it with defibrillators. Roll over Nokie Edwards and tell Hank Marvin the news.- Clark Paull





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