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Magik Markers - Gucci Rapidshare Download

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Artist: Magik Markers

Album: Gucci Rapidshare Download

Label: Three Lobed

Review date: Nov. 11, 2008

As it’s part of Three Lobed’s Oscillations III subscription-only series, Magik Markers’ Gucci Rapidshare Download may be imbued with some prescience as to how many listeners may acquire it. Those in the know will likely be hungry to grab it: the disc is one of the few 2008 releases for the usually prolific duo, and it’s an odd one at that. Last year, the duo issued BOSS, which, often through surprisingly conventional song structures, represented some of their most compelling and effective recorded work. Gucci Rapidshare Download swings things in a wholly different arc. A grab bag of oddities recorded over the past five years, the album compiles five tracks that sometimes seem strikingly divergent from one another, even considering Magik Markers’ typically wide-ranging scope.

“The Cement, the Concealing” is a searing slice of guitar/drums action, the sort of wild, improvisatory duet that Magik Markers were known for before BOSS. It’s the disc’s centerpiece, a 16-minute dose of dirty psych abstraction in which Ambrogio’s guitar careens over the propulsive clatter of Pete Nolan’s drums. The track is satisfyingly unhinged, but the spotty recording often renders Nolan’s percussion subordinate, dampening its intensity; for all the song’s violent motion, Magik Markers sound a bit like they’re running in place. “The Cement, the Concealing” makes up almost half of the disc’s duration, but it’s the probably the least interesting. It’s when Ambroglio and Nolan move in more mysterious ways that Gucci Rapidshare Download merits the $80 series fee.

“There is No Path Which is Not Straight” begins like a slow-burning psych number before Nolan locks into a Kraut-ish beat and Ambrogio’s violin takes the lead, shooting swathes of distorted strings adorned with occasional ghostly vocals. The end result is a tad clumsy and perhaps too simplistic in its focus, but its direct trajectory and propulsive energy make for a good introduction. The ambient “Smnth Fx,” which layers Nolan and Ambrogio under heavy blankets of reverb, and “The Place Where What Has Been Taken is Returned,” a slow rocker with organ and bass, feature further variations on the Markers sound. “Don’t Try to Tell Me,” a trio for sparse tambourine, effects, and warped dumpster-salvaged tape, moves in another direction entirely.

There’s no standout track on Gucci Rapidshare Download, though it’s an album that’s stronger as a whole than any of its singular tracks might indicate. The collection is an interesting signpost for those who follow Magik Markers closely, as the disc shows glimpses of the duo in a new light. It’s not their strongest effort, and not a great place for the novice to start, but for those already in tune with the many faces of Magik Markers, Gucci Rapidshare Download is worth tracking down, subscription or no.

By Adam Strohm

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