Gastr del Sol

On the cover of Upgrade & Afterlife (Drag City), a pair of boots explode in an aqueous burst on the floor, as though the person solidly implanted in them had just disintegrated in this splash. Roman Signer’s image suits GASTR DEL SOL’s latest CD perfectly: the musical texture is unpredictable, its apparent simplicity giving way to sudden explosive bursts. Upgrade & Afterlife is shot through with musical luminaries: here, Chicagoans David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke are assisted by such collaborators as Gene Coleman (on bass clarinet), Tony Conrad (violin), and Günter Muller (amplified percussion). Gastr del Sol’s musical universe is filled with juxtapositions, with the more or less peaceful coexistence between written and improvised parts, instrumental and vocal sequences, and acoustic and electronic manipulations. For three years, Grubbs and O’Rourke have constantly futzed the musical boundaries

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