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(60:08 / 'GT')
TRACK LIST: 1. No Rest III 6:36 2. Wind 1:42 3. Aim to Please 5:53 4. Interference 8:44 5. Conversing With the Dead 5:58 6. In 1:37 7. Can 4:31 8. Wait 3:19 9. Go Away 6:11 10. Motion Sickness 5:55 PERSONNEL: Lync - vocals; el. & ac. guitars, bass Alan Nu - vocals; percussion; synthesizers
Prolusion. This latest offering from the US duo GRAVITY TREE, "Ultimate Backward", is a successor to their debut outing "Life or Dessert?" from 2000.
Analysis. The 50-minute "Ultimate Backward" is made up of ten tracks, three of which are instrumentals, all being short. Wind is a piece for acoustic guitar, which is somewhat sketchy in its overall impression. In, in its turn, is a complete composition, but whether you call it ambient or space music, there is nothing apart from a couple of keyboard passages, slowly moving throughout. Finally Wait merges traditional synth sounds with those resembling a vibraphone into one unpretentious storyline that unfolds to the beats of programmed drums, so I don't think it's far-fetched to suggest this cut was performed on a single synthesizer, too. As to the longer tracks, all of them without exception are somewhat lacking in compositional cohesion, though not everything seems to be quite right there from their performance perspective either. It is unclear which of the songs feature Lync as a lead vocalist and which Alan Nu, but while one of the men sings in an acceptable way, the other has no talent for singing, his attempts to imitate a manner typical of black musicians representing an especially pitiful listening, and those are part of each of the last two tracks, Go Away and Motion Sickness. Both these are rather poor musically too, but if the latter has at least one impressive movement (in the style of vintage Hard Rock), the former is ballad-like in character throughout, evolving too slowly to impress, as also does Interference. That being said, Can is overfilled with vocals, basses and drums; the electric guitar plays a supporting role, whilst keyboards seem to be generally exercising their rights as uninvited guests there. Aim to Please, although not without some acoustic and electric guitar solos, reminds me overall of a piece from a symphonic keyboard trio's repertoire, but is too repetitive to be regarded as a creation of classic Art-Rock. When Lync plays riffs his guitar has a raspy, kind of rusty sound, which is particularly striking on No Rest III and Conversing With the Dead. Both these stand out for some interestingly designed, positively eclectic arrangements which would have generally been fine had they been properly conceived and delivered alike.
Conclusion. Personally I find Gravity Tree's "Ultimate Backward" to be rather crude material, and even the fact that the music is free of any obvious influences does not allow me to feel drawn to this output. The recording's unpolished nature reveals itself on many levels, as even its sound quality leaves much to be desired.
VM: July 31, 2007
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