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Rumah Sakit

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Album Review

Rumah Sakit's forays into sound are a heady mix of mathy time signatures and dense musical passages that craftily, oftentimes dreamily, intersect. The quartet shares the same instrumentation as like-minded modern prog misfits Don Caballero: two guitars, bass, and drums, and, of course, no vocals to sully the mix. But this San Francisco outfit isn't as consistently crushing as their Pittsburgh brothers, and it's not uncommon to find the musicians idly lying in the grass and gazing up at evocative clouds (metaphorically speaking, anyway). The epic "Scott & Jeremiah" begins with a lovely if slightly morose pattern, sounding something like a lonesome grandfather clock, until the intensity incrementally increases and we find ourselves swimming in interlocking, clipped phrases with occasional explosions of sound that bulldoze over the initial mellowness. A wry humor rears it's head on "Careful With That Fax Machine," but despite the title the song owes less to Floyd and more to King Crimson, at least the Red and Discipline albums. A breakneck opening pattern builds and builds until shattering into a greasy, jazzy groove, courtesy of bassist Kenneth. Guitar players Mitch and John provide some well-placed squeals, squawks, and howls, while drummer Jeff is everything a prog/jazz/indie-loving beater should be. One of the most successful Rumah Sakit conjurations is "Wind & Wing," a track which brings their musical algebra to a noise rock fever pitch, only to settle into a disarmingly gorgeous melody. The closer, "Stomachache Due to the Sincere Belief That the Rest of My Band Is Trying to Kill Me," is a paranoid, claustrophobic gem, the music belying the silliness of the title.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Rumah Sakit got their start in 1998 as the lineup of John Baez, Jeff Shannon, Mitch Cheney, and Kenseth Thibideau began playing their guitar-based post-punk throughout their native of San Francisco. Without any use for a vocalist, the band eventually recorded their self-titled full-length, which was released through Temporary Residence Limited, in 2000. Rumah Sakit's follow-up EP, part of the limited edition Travels in Constants series, came out the next year. Their...
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Rumah Sakit, Rumah Sakit
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