GR & FULL-BLOWN EXPANSION – GR & Full-Blown Expansion (Lesdisques Blasphematoires Du Palatin)
GR is Gregory Raimo, frontman for the Gunslingers – the French band whose 2008 debut "No More Invention" on the German World In Sound label, now available on vinyl, was one of last year’s most stunning surprises. It was a searing blast of surf-infused psychedelic punk with demented-insect vocals and feedback-drenched Sonny Sharrock chaos-slide – and Full-Blown Expansion is the name he’s given his solo project, in which he plays drums (his original axe), bass, and keyboards as well as guitar. (He’s also released a CD-R duet album, "The High Speed Recording Complex" with American avant-garage weirdo Michael Yonkers.)

On the opening track, "Descent Along the An-Ti-Fohn-Nul", GR couples a bone-dry guitar-and-bass sound, much like that Eddie Hazel and Billy Bass Nelson employed on the first Funkadelic album, with an idiosyncratic approach to rhythm and structure (not to mention some vocal jive on an overloaded mic) that recalls Mirror Man-era Captain Beefheart. The resultant sound is slinky, funky, and dare I say, downright sexy. “Transfiguration On a Sepiachord” pounds away methodically as reverb swimming, mysterioso surf guitars vie with blaring garage-punk fuzztones. On "The Metal Spike" the drums lay down some tribal blues ritual thunder worthy of Beefheart’s Drumbo circa "Strictly Personal" behind ominous organ chords and hyperactive guitar chatter.

On the flipside’s opener “The Intercessor Speaks”, GR kicks on his effects pedals (particularly echo) and revisits some of the same sonic turf previously staked out by the Gunslingers. Things get decidedly weirder with "The Scene (Slowly’s Getting Louder)", a twisted waltz that features GR’s treated voxxx over layers of psych-drone guitars, and continue down the path of strangeness with "All Stoned Day Long They Take You", which sounds like a '70s boogie band’s jams made arrhythmic by belladonna. On the closing “Blind Black Or Pearly White” GR uses an effect-laden electric piano and what sounds like an ancient analog synth to explore Krautrock territory.

Cop this limited-edition, white vinyl gem online here but hurry – he only pressed 300. - Ken Shimamoto



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