Dylan Carlson


Thomas Ragsdale

Acting as a sort of appetiser, ambient/electronic/man’o’synth Thomas Ragsdale performs a set that initially seems of interest… yet rather shortly hereafter my interest sinks deep into the metaphorical puddle of ennui. Akin to countless ambient exhibitions that I personally like (Tangerine Dream’s Rubycon etc), it is a continuously flowing piece; yet sadly the sparing use of the drum machine (jumping in at random points) was the only significant tension builder in this lacklustre escapade (I’ve used cyberpunk comparisons too many times). In addition, the loops of sound effects (‘relevant quote’ no.214235) really start to pluck my strings, as it feels more a cliché than anything with actual meaning or political validity (Coupled with the on-the-nose visual projections).

And of course the stage mannerisms; the ‘tapped into the grid’ posturing while he precariously handles his instruments negates the dramatic and invokes the comedic; did he forget to use the john prior to the set? ABRIDGED: Remember that episode of Friends when Ross discovers his old keyboard and decides to start playing it again? I’ll leave it there.

Dylan Carlson

This is an opportunity to not only witness a figure of the Seattle scene perform but also the architect of the (sub?)genre drone metal (or ambient metal, if you are that much of dork), a genre I can politely sum up my knowledge of as ‘fuck all’. Well that’s not entirely true – I listened to Earth’s magnum opus Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version and the Earth-influenced Boris’ Absolutego in the summer of last year and marvelled at how art can be made from the protracted zzzzzzzuzzzzz that guitars are capable of emitting over a period far beyond the comfort of your typical Beige Clive.

Faced with the easy task of topping the support act, Carlson unassumingly gets on stage and assembles his equipment of two guitars and other devices I’m too musically unenlightened to refer to (pedals?); a joke about the fruits aging in his delicate speaking voice almost deceives you into thinking heavy metal would be an avenue he’d dare not venture near (not so). The textured, emboldening riffs he plays slowly tell a story; he cuts through his recent solo album Conquistador with tracks such as ‘Conquistador’ (woah), ‘We Reached the Gold’ and ‘Scorpions in Their Mouths’; to describe them as Iommi-orientated would be a silly, getting-slapped-on-the-back-of-the-head-inducing remark (do your research!).

I do enjoy the fact that he doesn’t show off unneeded riff-wanking that so many guitarists (especially metallic ones) seem almost magnetically predisposed to – he recognises that you don’t need to dazzle the spectator into obedience or deafen the enthusiasts to force upon them something memorable. Yet, I feel as interesting as this solo/post rock thing is, I feel it is more of a collection of olives (with oil!) than a well crafted garlic bread; it tastes good but your stomach is still a little on the empty side. To offset this slight dissatisfaction, Carlson announces Earth will likely be back in the UK this October, and a new LP will be out on May 24th (24th May in our case); better stock up on those Pizza Express vouchers.

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Angus Rolland

Recent career decisions have compelled me into the journalistic... thing; I could list my literary influences or even debate which 3rd rate beverage has the best economic value per litre (But I won’t). Oh, in addition, I write reviews for the Independents Network.