PREMIERE: Bus Gas - Live On Leave Us

 

This was the first sentence from my 2014 review of Snake Hymns, a tape by bus gas.

"After digesting the news this morning, Snake Hymns seemed like a natural choice to ruminate on those feelings that things probably aren't getting better."

2014. That was 2014. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. But...

TBH anyone remotely sentient could portend about international and domestic developments not getting any better. But even at my most pessimistic couldn't have predicted the shit years of all shit years that 2016 was and the oncoming storm we are watching come in as we contemplate the next four.

The feeling of involuntary stasis while watching something thick and black on the horizon coming at you is the #currentmood of Bus Gas's latest on Spring Break Tapes! Live On Leave Us begins with the sidelong "Top Ten Funerals" which serves to explode the unsettling ache of Snake Hymn's electro-acoustic, semi-improvised compositions and instead moves into the longform piece that surges and eddies with swells of static-surfing guitar drones and washes of clarion-clear sustained tones that ratchet up the tension and suspended dread on each pass. The piece is an exercise in sustained tension. A storm cloud that builds and builds but never quite breaks.

Side B - "Infinity Cymbals" is a propulsive, longitudinal composition that grows out of a slight pulse of a bass line until it accrues more and more audio fragmentation, including the strangled clang of underwater solo line that spirals into an all-is-lost squall. All of this is sustained by some truly effulgent and golden drones, a gilding that suggests wonder and connectedness in defiance and struggle.

A truly mesmerizing fork-in-the-road in one of most undersung but praiseworthy groups putting out music today.

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January 17th, 2017