Gala Drop, Overcoat Heat

[Golf Channel Recordings]


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The last few years have seen a proliferation of bands working the angle of “live band” techno and house. The prospect of bringing the music full-circle to its roots in kraut rock, jazz, and funk is a tantalizing one, but most of these attempts are too stiff, too focused on the mechanics. You could almost count Lisbon’s Gala Drop among their ranks if they weren’t so limber. Overcoat Heat, their four-track EP for the Golf Channel label, is a hive of activity, imperceptibly blurring the lines between synthetic and organic in a manner that chiefly recalls Maurice Fulton’s freewheeling output or latter-day Animal Collective.

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The group’s sound is characterized by its mesmerizing circular arrangements — the hypnotic loop is obviously not foreign to electronic music, but Gala Drop take the concept to new levels by continually stacking a profusion of repeating patterns on top of one another. On opener “Drop,” live drums tumble over each other, accompanied by splintery, looping guitar and bass pulses. Up top, guitar and synthesizer trade in cascading, meditative solos, and the dizzy resultant track is as engaging as it is difficult to immediately grasp. “Rauze,” meanwhile, builds a wide-eyed gallop around a mechanical 4/4 kick, augmented by what are presumably live drum fills. The track’s swirling synthesizer loops build to a heady climax, as a super-joyous vocal wail peeks through the melee.

The offbeat “Izod” is possibly the EP’s strongest track, resembling slick, DFA-style new disco being reproduced from memory. Like some of the best work on that label (the DFA remixes come to mind), the track fluidly adds ideas — the way the percussion moves from echoing claps to a vigorous tumble, the steady filtering in of the synthesizer lines — as it climbs toward its visceral peak. Finally, “Overcoat Heat” closes things with a tense redux of the prior tracks; the drums threaten to erupt but never do, leaving a comparatively sparse backdrop for twisting bass and guitar lines. For such a short EP, Overcoat Heat manages to be protean and completely exhausting, and Gala Drop’s improvisational tendencies and depth of vision practically necessitate repeated plays.

Spons  on January 26, 2011 at 5:48 PM

I’ve been looking for this sound ! On constant repeat here ! If anyone has any more suggestions for this kind of psychedelic house I would be very grateful. :)

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