Review

Transcendental Manship Highway - lord of the trees

Auxillary Out

The awesomely christened Transcendental Manship Highway is an upstate NY "supergroup" featuring Hare, Eric Hardiman (Century Plants, Burnt Hills, Rambutan,) Cory Card (Stone Baby) and Joe Tunis (Joe+N). This CD-r is a single half hour bludgeoning and damn fine one at that. Beginning rather quietly with a lone drum and indecipherable speech, guitar tones drift in along with a vocal sample submerged in a effects. Tension is built up gradually with some frantic, slicing wah-wah work before the tempo picks and the full crew gets moving. It's actually nearly relaxing at first. Shuffling mid-tempo drums and 2 or 3 blurry guitars combining with ease, but there's always a suggestion of something a bit more evil on the horizon. Around the 7 minute mark, TMH shifts to sinister. A lot of cymbal smashing and wah freak outs and general disarray. The drums drop out a bit revealing a pretty solid chunk of noise being kicked out by the other dudes. I think there's someone shouting an arena rock chant but it's completely buried by grimy feedback. About halfway through the drummer picks up a fast groovy pattern and the track takes off. All of sudden the psychedelic feedback bath becomes a foot stomper with the return of a (still buried) lead vocalist. It's all pretty ruling, especially an aborted guitar solo during a breakdown. Whoever was watching this gig was treated to quite a show. Things slow way down and get a little heavier and there's a killer repeated synth swoop coming from somewhere that adds a second point of rhythmic orientation. All guitars take this as a cue to go to town, some go wild but one keeps things steady with a nice melody. If this was completely improv'd then, damn, these guys know to write great songs on the spot. The track actually fits somewhere between a long jam and already worked out songs. No one ever gets lost either which is always good in long jams like this because it can be a bit of a bummer when some dudes are roaring but another isn't sure what he's doing. An amazingly protracted drum pummeling ensues against more feedback and wah-wah excursions. There's a come down which actually a total fake out before the four horsemen lay waste to the room and everything in it in the final minute. Pretty rad set, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this combo; so hopefully this wasn't a one-off performance cause, you know, if it is that would suuuuck.



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