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Album Review

As the premiere release on Kranky, which would become one of the '90s most notable U.S. indie labels for its series of adventurous releases, Prazision already holds a certain place in the history books. Regardless of who put it out, however, this excellent debut would command attention for introducing Labradford and their marvelous drone/ambient sound to the world. Inspired by such cult-level titans of '80s drone as Spacemen 3 and Loop (whose ex-members almost immediately championed the band after Prazision's appearance), the then-duo's ability to create seemingly stark (but quite layered and complex, the more you listened to it), echoed, modern psychedelic masterpieces made itself apparent from the beginning. Notably, the band eschewed conventional percussion of any sort, relying on singer/guitarist Nelson's simple but effective guitar parts — usually consisting of a series of a few notes, repeated in sequence and given reverb — to carry the rhythm, while keyboards and organs explored all varieties of ambient and melodic approaches. Nelson's lyric delivery serves him best when he's simply reciting rather than singing, as on the beautifully chilling "Sliding Glass," and though the overall effect of his quiet, half-whispered vocals is very Spacemen 3-derivative, it certainly doesn't hurt the album any at all. The trump card here is "Gratitude," a keyboard-led piece which is, in fact, Labradford's own series of thank-you's to friends, family, and labels for their support, delivered using a Vocoder. At once amusing and quite cool to listen to, it's a nicely unexpected touch on a solid first record.


Formed: 1992 in Richmond, VA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Consisting of bassist Robert Donne, guitarist/vocalist Mark Nelson, and Carter Brown on keyboards, Labradford are an experimental ambient/post-rock group from Richmond, Virginia. Incorporating electronics as well as non-traditional arrangement and production techniques, the group's soundtrack-y, effects-heavy sonic landscapes operate in a vein closely allied with groups such as Experimental Audio Research, Flying Saucer Attack, and Gastr del Sol, and have earned the group high praise among a diverse...
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Prazision, Labradford
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