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Loss of Affect

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Album Review

Eric Arn has led Primordial Undermind through what seems like any number of lifetimes now, so it's always good to see that the group is not merely alive and kicking, but thriving. Loss of Affect, released by a good spiritual home in the form of Strange Attractors, finds the now-quintet in fine form. Beginning with an appropriately murky and gently ominous start in "Intercessor," with feedback tones and odd electronic swirls slipping out of dark drone haze, Loss of Affect wears its credit of "recorded live (no overdubs)" proudly — this is an album that is as it sounds, an often striking series of psychedelic-based improvisations. The emphasis is less on explosive craziness than understated sound — a bit in line with some of the work of present labelmates Cul de Sac, though more conceptually than sonically. Moments where one instrumentalist stands out, such as Otis Cleveland's clarinet on "Driftglass," help in showcasing the range of individual performances throughout. Sometimes it's all down to Arn himself — if there's anyone else on "Breathe Deep" besides him and his guitar work, it's not apparent. At other points where the volume does ratchet up along with the pace, as with the increasingly careening "Tremens," it's the type of open-ended freakout that would make fans of any Terrastock-performing act incredibly happy. One of the more surprising moments comes at the end with the concluding "Blinding Stars," with a dramatic and doomy riff leading a section that sounds like it should have been in an unproduced Hawkwind rock opera.

Loss of Affect, Primordial Undermind
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