Sunday, May 17, 2009

Silver Antlers

Black Blood of the Earth (05.09, Magic Goat/American West Freedom Society

Byline: This is what I am talking about when I say Salt Lake has amazing music.

For: "Obolus" by Thrones, Terakaft, Niagara Falls, Gang Gang Dance

When I moved to Seattle I tried to impress on all my hip new friends that Salt Lake City was where the real music was happening. I tried to explain that the wave of creativity that swelled in Seattle in the nineties had crested and had crashed against the mighty Wasatch Front and had collected into a great inland sea known as the Great Salt Lake. A relatively young generation of artists like Stag Hare, Chaz Prymek, Wylde Wyzards and Silver Antlers (a.k.a Skyler Hitchcox) have been drinking from this deep pool of creative waters since birth and have now individually released their manifestations of the magic of Salt Lake City. Silver Antlers is the newest incarnation of the shape-shifting solo music output of Skyler Hitchcox and is quite frankly some of the best stuff I have heard in quite awhile. Salt Lake City is an interesting place, a haven for American Moses, mystics and magi, aging hippies and new agers, not to mention the deep conservative undercurrent that sparks so much creativity. Silver Antlers embodies all of the mysticism, grandeur of the beautiful and weird surroundings and all of the strange complexities of life in the Great Salt Lake. I have ordered the For section as a sort of guide through this 50 minute + opus. The album opens with the eerie pitchshifted vocals of the epic 40 min + Thrones track Obolus, then it wanders into some equally trippy krautrock-meets-new-age bookstore drones of Niagara Falls or Stag Hare. Out of the haze comes an incredible string section that sounds like Warren Ellis of the Dirty Three. We move onto some trippy guitar drones that recall the Eastern influences of the Algerian desert rock band Terakaft, around minute 18 things start getting real and the middle-eastern dance party via Gang Gang Dance's Native American drum-circle-meets D.F.A Brooklyn funkiness really start to get down. Black Blood of the Earth is as vast as the great salt planes and as impressive and grand as the Wasatch Front. It is all very magical and very mysterious, if this is the trajectory in which this new breed of talented SLC punks is headed then I welcome this movement as a statement to the vitality and creativity of Salt Lake City, long live Silver Antlers and the Magic Goat Collective!

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