Sunday, May 2, 2010


I'm surprised i haven't burned out on AMT yet; none of their records have been super mind blowing (although a couple have been much HEAVIER, which i like) as of late but none have been terrible either and for whatever reason i keep thinking of them as a solid and reliable unit; the Slayer of psychedelia, maybe. This marks perhaps the 110th or so album by these guys i own (no shit) and it's one of their better recent efforts. "In O to Infinity" sees the return of original vocalist and musey chanteuse Cotton Casino on one track and is something of a return to cosmic form, the album itself being a continuation, or sequel, if you like, of their previous cover of Terry Riley's minimalist masterwork "In C."
Made up of four spacey sojourns, "In O to Infinity" is a mellower AMT affair, dominated by the usual run of galactic bloop sounds splattered across an ocean of simple revved up one-chord guitar ragers. Kawabata seems toned down a bit more than usual; there are very few damage solos (if any?) here and almost none of the super blown out guitar destruction that made AMT famous so many years ago. Instead we get a lunar landscape of icy voiding space echoes, a wintry wall of fuzzy white shimmer noise and static, a sort of missive from the outer reaches of the galaxy, a message from way way beyond to massage your poor exhausted 21st century brain.
This is easily AMT on autopilot and to go even further i don't see any of these pieces as any sort coda to "In C." They're just four songs by a gifted band of sonic cosmonauts deciding to go in a hyper-minimalist direction; calling them Riley derivations and marketing the record as such was probably an after the fact decision. Much too has been made of Miss Casino's return to the ensemble here but her role is not an up-front one at all-instead her vocals are just another background noise amidst a thick foggy swirl of them. I don't know if she's back in the commune again (it wouldn't be a bad thing since Kawabata seems to be having a hell of a time finding a decent replacement for her) but if she's going to be on future endeavours i'd like to see her taking up a little more sonic space. The old Cotton was as close to a frontwoman as AMT was ever going to have and she was super fun to watch live. When she left, the unit definitely suffered a little.
"In O to Infinity" isn't a necessary purchase-your AMT collection isn't going to suffer with its absence and since it's on Important it'll be around for awhile if you're on the fence-but it is a good one, a nice 73 minute mind melter to throw on in the dark, or maybe in a room lit by lava lamps or blacklights. Probably the blacklights since it's, you know...spacey.

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