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Rawar Style

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Album Review

Annoyed with the many hyphens used to review the sound of their first album, the Eternals deemed their style "rawar" and offer 11 examples in their defining of the new term. With help from the Chicago posse, this is most like a post-modern, hip-hop conscious version of what the Talking Heads came up with in their Brian Eno-led cross-sonic experiments. Unlike the Heads, the Eternals all bring considerable musical craftsmanship to the project, which might explain why the production of their complicated compositions is so clean — to prove that the magic is in the mind, not the mix. "High Anxiety" starts with a John Barry-like spy theme with high, taut bass and heavily-treated, reedy vocals by Damon Locks. His sing-speech is cut and clipped in production, removing bits of words and adding to the simmering chaos illustrating the song title. "Space Dancehall" suggests bits of that style heard in the 2003 hip-hop mainstream while exploding on a drum, and a gritty keyboard-led toast even more paranoid than "High Anxiety." By the middle, this edgy skitter settles down to weird, experimental Sun Ra-styled musings over downtempo beats. On "The Beat Is Too Original" perhaps, this jazz-rock crossover is the subject of their parody, coming off as a rather ineffectual Frank Zappa style critique of a trend which they (and their label, Aesthetics are most surely agent provocateurs for). By the final track "Gussy You Yourself," the steam runs out completely, and the anxiety has turned into low level social critique trudged in Locks' underwater beat poet style.


Formed: Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Truly warped funk/dub ensemble the Eternals combined the talents of Damon Locks (vocals, keyboards, special EFX), Wayne Montana (bass, melodica, guitar, keyboards), and Dan Fliegel (percussion, guitar, keyboards). Montana and Locks spent years together in the overlooked Trenchmouth, and Fliegel spent time with members of Tortoise as Tom Zé's backing band during touring. Much like Trenchmouth, but with less emphasis on guitar, the Chicago-based Eternals threw together a number of influences —...
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Rawar Style, Eternals
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