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Album Review

Maserati rose to become one of the best post-rock bands of the 2000s — not the least because they didn't quite fit into the conventions of the style — so it's probably fitting that they don't release new stuff often and stick to things like split CDs. Passages is another example of that tantalizing thoroughness, boasting only 18 minutes of new music by Maserati in addition to three lengthy remixes. The new material is a treat, building on the sound of Inventions for the New Season, their previous album, in which Maserati had already honed their skills with delay-based rhythms to nanotech precision. This really isn't post-rock in the old sense of Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor!, who reveled in sonic buildups: Maserati are closer to God Is an Astronaut, only less fierce than the Irishmen — they're not about bombastic daydreaming, but rather about keeping the constant flow of music, with strands of melodies being constantly elongated, transformed, and propelled ahead at good speed while remaining steadily catchy, as well as hypnotizing like abstract patterns shifting on a computer screen. The band's debt to space rockers à la Ozric Tentacles is more apparent than ever, but Maserati remain more substantial, never slipping into psychedelic Muzak. A pity these nice things are largely absent from the remixes, two of which ("The World Outside" by Thee Loving Hand and "Inventions" by Justin van der Volgen) completely break the mood of the record. Replacing Maserati's constant change with techno repetition and sprawling emotiveness with simplistic machine melodies really takes the wind out of the original songs — although, admittedly, the two remixes would be able to stand on their own quite well in another setting. Only the third reworking, "Monoliths" by Steve Moore, succeeds, showing how Maserati actually bridge the gap between electronica and rock music, sounding almost like they play ambient techno with guitars (and, actually, plenty of synths), but giving it the warmth of the live performance. But still, Passages would have worked better as two separate EPs.


Formed: 2001 in Athens, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Yet another of the Athens, Georgia experimentalists, Maserati picked up where bands like Tortoise, Macha, and Labradford left off with complex, warmly textured instrumental music straying from the confines of rock to explore the ambient, jazz, and even modern classical traditions. The four-piece of Coley Dennis (guitar), Steve Scarborough (bass), Phil Horan (drums), and Matt Cherry (guitar) began playing together in early 2001. After several months, they recorded and self-released 37:29:24, a moody...
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Passages, Maserati
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