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Headgit - EP

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Album Review

You'd expect a band whose name doubles as an insult (in Britain at least) to sound confrontational. Not so with Githead, a post-rock super-trio comprising Wire's Colin Newman, spouse Malka Spigel (ex-Minimal Compact) and Robin Rimbaud — aka Scanner, telephone terrorist and Stockhausen's favorite flâneur électronique. Notwithstanding Githead's two-pronged guitar attack, in which the unlikely axeman Rimbaud plays Rick Parfitt to Newman's Francis Rossi, the band's maiden release eschews unbridled riffage in favor of well-wrought melodic textures and economical, hypnotic patterns, buoyed by programmed beats (courtesy of "the Beat Monster") and Spigel's bass throb. Encompassing minimalist funk, NEU!-like repetitive grooves and dub-flavored atmospherics, Headgit marks a departure from Newman's assaultive, amphetamine-paced forays with early-'00s Wire; if anything, it actually recalls that band's sound in the late '80s as it first embraced digital technology. Above all, though, Headgit shows continuity with Newman and Spigel's explorations of the interface between organic and electronic musics on their solo and collaborative projects. As a vocalist, Newman has always had three distinct modes: bolshy and shouty, snide and snarky, or simply affectless. Here he adopts the latter, sing-speaking obtuse, elliptical phrases and stringing together surreal non-sequiturs worthy of Wire ("Rescue bin, deconstruction / Bridgewater, unique seduction"). In places, things get surprisingly funky: "Profile" bounces along atop Spigel's one-woman, Gap Band-sized bassline, while "Craft Is Dead" features Nile Rodgers-style chukka-chukka guitar licks. In contrast, "12 Buildings" has a more expansive feel with ambient coloring and half-buried voice-samples (the influence of Rimbaud, no doubt). Most compelling is the instrumental "Reset," whose interlocking, minimal guitar lines evoke Michael Rother's trance-inducing handiwork. "Craft Is Dead" might be the title of a track but, on Headgit, the art of infectious, intelligent pop is alive and kicking.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Avant rock band Githead features Malka Spigel (bass, vocals), Wire's Colin Newman (guitar, vocals), Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner, guitar), and frequent live and studio assistance from Max Franken (drums). Newman and Spigel first worked together on the former's 1986 album Commercial Suicide, while the latter and Franken were members of the under-recognized Israeli post-punk band Minimal Compact. Initially considered a one-off for the sake of performing at the 2004 tenth anniversary celebration of Newman...
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Headgit - EP, Githead
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