Jerry Granelli's drums open and close the third release from his V16 outfit, Vancouver '08
. In between he mostly sits back and gives ground to electric strings: two guitars and a bass. It's a wise choice. Guitarists Christian Kogel and especially David Tronzo are wizards of the six string. The Live at Ironworks
DVD that accompanies this CD provides visual evidence of their tricks. Slide guitarist Tronzo applies not only the traditional steel and glass to his axe, but also "found" slides like a plastic pill bottle and small aluminum vegetable can. He dampens his strings by lodging a cork between the fifth and sixth and the first and second strings, while wedging in a chopstick to use as a whammy bar.
The music alternates between the hypnotic ("Planting" and "Flipper") and the aggressive ("The Truth" and "Unnamed"), belying a searching, Buddhistic wave of expression Granelli says haunts all of his music. Of the guitarists, Kogel's work is the most traditional in nature, laying down grimy rhythm or coursing rather clean, melodic lines. In contrast, as alluded to above, Tonzo likes to load on the eccentric effects. J. Anthony Granelli's bass, far from simply plucking away in the background, hums with an electric sweep or steps up to carry the melody itself.
The jarring "Unnamed" is one of the few tunes in which Granelli's drums take a central role. And the diversity of his playing on the trackboth rhythmically and in terms of percussive colorshows why he is considered to be one of the foremost drummers on the scene today. Still, this is a guitar-lover's record, with drummer Granelli slyly pulling the warped and buzzing strings.
Personnel: David Tronzo: electric slide guitar; Christian Kogel: electric guitar; J. Anthony Granelli, electric bass; Jerry Granelli, drums.