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Album Review

Consisting of three lengthy tracks taped at two 1997 sessions, Techeod makes for an excellent document of how Pelt can create and maintain fascinating drone compositions drawing on everything from Appalachian roots to various Asian and Middle Eastern inspirations. That the first track is called "New Delhi Blues" is only appropriate — for all the haunting flute parts and bowed-string-instrument moans on the track, there is (possibly due to guest fiddle work) something down home in an American sense as well, at once familiar and alien. It's also flat-out beautiful, adhering to no central kind of Western melody in favor of open-ended improvisations and celebratory tablas that sound like invocations to an ancient dance. The track shifts into the nearly half-hour-long "Big Walker Mountain Tunnel," which revolves around an ebbing and rising howl of treated sound interspersed with occasional muffled beats and extra overdubs. It easily and favorably compares to the murkier work of Flying Saucer Attack or Roy Montgomery from around the same period, the blend of electronic and acoustic instrumentation eventually falling away into isolated, extended drones and returning again to full strength, a striking improvisational cycle. But as with "New Delhi Blues," it's the sense of a calmer element — in this case the gentle acoustic pluck of a guitar rising through the haze, at once twangy and not quite common — which sends the track whenever it appears. "Mu Mesons" concludes Techeod with slightly more conventional (in a Western sense) guitar riffs and keyboard parts, though again all is done in service of meta-space/psych-jam madness. Even without any drums, the whole turns into an evolving blast worthy of early Ash Ra Tempel, with a sudden monstrous but still weirdly serene overdub at 11 minutes in turning the track into a high-volume meditation.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Pelt is a trio formed in Richmond, VA, whose drones are influenced by psychedelia, modern composition, and, on albums such as 2001's Ayahuasca, Appalachian folk music and Indian raga. Its core members include Jack Rose, Mike Gangloff, and Patrick Best, but the band often collaborates with other artists and groups. After a few early singles, Pelt solidified its lineup and released its first album, Brown Cyclopaedia, on its own Radioactive Rat label in 1995; it was later reissued by VHF. Pelt's second...
Full bio
Techeod, Pelt
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