Sunday, August 2, 2009

German Shepherd

Beehive: Symbol of Cooperation and Industry (Fall.07)

Byline: Symbol of Cooperation and Industry. Isn't Life just a crazy, crazy dream?

For: Jasper TX, The Fun Years, Belong

The symbol of the beehive has a special meaning that is largely forgotten in Salt Lake City. Once a symbol used by the settlers of this great valley to remind them of the necessity of cooperation, communal empathy, and fortiteous industry to survive in this far flung desert, the power of the beehive's influence in the political, communal, and personal thinking of the day has largely been lost in Utah. I'm not sure when this idea of communal living was usurped by slit-throat capitalism, or when Utah became a bastian for third-world wage slavery, but needless to say our state symbol is a piece of woven cloth ephemera waving above our state capitol. If you are interested check out this site for a bold look forward in incorporating Utah's long lost ideals. I know I have alienated about 90% of the people reading, but seriously, look it up, the Beehive is a powerful symbol. Victor Erice even made a movie about it. The music of Beehive is just as warped as our state symbol, but in a much, much better way.

German Shepherd, the musician who burst into my psyche on the 4 way Traveling split, is a musician from Great State of Wisconsin playing warped basement guitar drones that sound at once intimate and distant, as if gurgling up through some creaky midwestern wooden floorboards into straight into your subconscious. My mom, in her infinite kindness, gave me one of the best birthday presents a few years ago, a pair of super nice headphones. The kind with noise cancellation, a feature that makes up for the fidelity lost in processing mp3's. It has made my listening much more gratifying auditory experience. With German Shepherd, however, I leave all supplemental hearing contraptions off, and listen to it the way I think he meant it. Looping guitar tracks and droning synths buried underneath the surface of iced over lake of lo-fi analog recording noise. This recording technique has been applied by Grouper, Belong, and Inca Ore with the same effect. Beehive is an album to get lost in, to completely sink beneath the waves of cracked guitar sounds, cheap amps, and droning effect pedals. Virtuoso guitar playing is not a pre-requisite to being a floor-core guitar strangler, but on "Crane Spreads it's Wings" one gets the sense that German Shepherd has a classical sense of how the guitar works, before he goes about dismantling it. I am in love with the twinkling guitar line at the end of the song that is somehow eerily reminiscent of "Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins. One thing I really appreciate about German Shepherd is that each song sound like proper songs. Not one sounds alike, which is a Million Dollar Man type feat in the world of basement ambient drone types. Mr. Summers sent me a generous portion of his back catalog, I am looking forward to having similar experiences with each.

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