There has never been a more appropriate name for a group than this one, as the name sums up what's best about Aaron Dugan, Casey Block and Jeff Arnal's collaboration. They sound bigger than the trio they are, Block's electronics and Arnal's percussion swelling the timbral pallet to near exploding point, and yet, there's always a sense of restraint, of subtle transparency.
Perhaps Silver and Ash reflect the music's qualities in order of appearance. The first side of the 7" is lighter, shinier, and even the hypnofunk Arnal's laying down does nothing to dampen a kind of enervated optimism. There's a strange sense of bubble in Block's electronics that goes beautifully with Arnal's light tappings on skin and metal. Even though the dynamic level stays basically the same, the exuberance builds as Lock and Arnal create polyrhythms. What I take pleasure in labeling the "Ash" side, actually called " "Lifeboat," is darker, a black wind of electronics blowing over Arnal's heavier and more rock-drenched percussion. When it finally disappears, we're left with only noise, a dark-hued exhalation.
I've saved Dugan's contributions for last. He brings another level of reference to the table, one that's unexpected and equally invigorating. I can't help but hear Steve Howe, in perpetual solo mode, channeled through every note he plays, but he's squeezing them out in blurts, dingy rasps and growls. It's as if prog, or art-rock, had been burnt to cinders, leaving the listener privy to its remains, which were then superimposed over Block and Arnal's constantly morphing yet somehow static complexities.
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