Album Reviews

Delia Gonzales & Gavin Russom – The Days Of Mars

(DFA) UK release date: 10 October 2005


It was while floating around in the spin cycle of Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom’s The Days Of Mars that I had the following recurrent fantasy, so you’ll forgive me if I go all Kurt Vonnegut on you for a moment…

Long ago, in a land far, far away, there existed a disparate group of musicians who dreamt of other worlds and possible futures. Some observers, looking for easy structuralist conclusions, commented that the reason for this philosophical state was that their recent history had been was so awful, so monstrous, that they were in effect, looking for a new identity. Years later, long after its whirring engine becameexhausted, this inspirational movement became known by the faintly pejorative term ‘Krautrock’……and as Black Spring finally arpeggio’s itself away into Vangelis oblivion, I break out of my Trefalmadore trance-state, and examine the remnants of all this tangerine dreaming…

Baloney, I hear you cry, what’s with all this specious theorising and spurious literary allusions? W’happen to the album review? Well, let me explain…

The Days Of Mars is the latest album from DFA, Tim Goldsworthy and James ‘LCD Soundsystem‘ Murphy’s edgy Noo Yoik disco-punk label. Following on from long form sets by The Juan McLean and Black Dice, Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom’s 4-track debut expands the lexicon of the DFA imprint. That said, The Days Of Mars sees fit that we remain inDFA’s elliptical orbit, GPS-tracking nervy post-House comedowns and boldly going where just a few men (and women) have been before.

Multimedia specialists Gonzalez and Russom have no reservation in making winsome claims about ‘energies’ in the conceptual framework of their ‘art’, and to their credit, the repetitive configurations of The Days Of Mars will provide full bed and board to those wishing to turn on, tune in and encircle Uranus. The Days Of Mars flowers fully in the mind gardens of Krautrock, its firm, embracing tones evoking theaforesaid Tangerine Dream. Sometimes all you need is to be given a bit of a prog in the right direction.

Which is of course where we came in…

Its taken years for the impact of the old GDR’s early 70’s outpouring of re-phased psychedelia to be fully recognised, and its heavy footfalls are all over The Days Of Mars.

With Miami-born Gonzales having already released records under the name of Black Leotard Front, Rhode Island denizen Russom had been confounded by loss of inspiration, so decided to build his own synth (all the kids are doing it these days) which goes someway to explain the slight analogue-vintage atmosphere of this set.

Still, taking its name from novelist Winifred Bryher’s memoir of the last days of the second world war, The Days Of Mars aims for frozen moments and succeeds by acknowledging the more contemporary impact of the Tech-ier end of House. While there’s no pussyfooting around with these symphonic structures, equilibrium-shifting nights of excess may well have just provided a platform for these star flights of fancy.Each composition takes at least eleven minutes to complete its solar eclipse.

Rise’s ultraviolet blinking takes nine minutes before its urgent vectors are given any shading counterpoint. 13 Moons (a term for a Mayan-derived system of timekeeping) relies on bare Neu!-ish flickering to complete its gyrations, but the 13-minute distended podium moment of Relevee returns the set to temporal stasis. By the time the harmonics of Black Spring settle into dry-dock, the terrain seems less daunting, the landscape less foreboding.

For superior views of the event horizon, there may be no better vantage point than that glimpsed from The Days Of Mars.


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