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Tribal Tech: Rocket Science

Tapping into effects toy boxes on all instruments, Tribal Tech turns in a consistently clever sci-fi fusion frolic on Rocket Science. The quartet admirably carries its theme throughout the record, from the bubbling keyboard effects and fuzzy distortion guitar on “Astro Chimp” to the tumbling, adventurous strut titled “Cap’n Kirk,” it’s a space shot through-and-through. Though the pieces tend toward abstract atmospheres, they utilize strange tones and techniques to evoke vivid pictures and feelings. The creepy keyboard menace and warped bass sounds create a distinctive cartoonish evil on “Mini Me,” for example, and the funky, spaced-out motion of “Space Camel” actually sounds just like its title. Album opener “Saturn 5” is a wonder of sonic spatial distortion; the song’s high-toned fuzz guitar, rolling drums and zoned out keyboard noises create a picture of slow tumbling through zero gravity. The band would not be able to carry off these strange adventures without equally stellar musicianship. The precise timings and vivid instrumental voicings turn Rocket Science into a wonder of musical science. Audiophiles will get an additional thrill from reading the quartet’s gear listings included with the CD, which include everything but the kitchen sink (though it includes a Maytag dishwasher).

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