(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Rake Is My Co-Pilot , 6.5/10
The Art Ensemble Of Rake , 8/10
Intelligence Agent , 7/10
Fighting 2 Quarters and A Nickle , 6/10
Resume The Cosmos , 6/10
From Quagmire: The Tropic Of Barren , 6/10
From Quagmire: Caught In Unknowing (2002), 6/10
From Quagmire: Habitats In The Wound (2005), 6/10

Rake, formed by bassist Bill Kellum (owner of the alternative label VHF) in Fairfax (Virginia), belong to the florid progressive-school of the 1990s. They established themselves as one of the most creative ensembles of the Washington scene via the single Cow Song/ My Fish Died (L Records, 1990), the EP Motorcycle Shoes/ Look at Rocks, My Miserable Existence/ The Center (VHF, 1991), the cassette The Day I Remembered Seeing Ice (Sweet Portable Junket, 1992) and the single Subterranean Marijuana Garden/ USTV (VHF, 1992).

Their first album, Rake Is My Co-Pilot (VHF, 1994), contains two lengthy improvisations, Thin the Herd and Motorcycle Shoes, driven by a jazz guitarist who listened to John McLaughlin till he went nuts and by a keyboardist who fell in love with the Moog. The sound is an aberration of Albert Ayler and Borbetomagus.

I Rake, formati da Bill Kellum (titolare della VHF), provengono da Fairfax, in Virginia, e appartengono alla florida scuola di progressive-rock. Con il singolo Cow Song/ My Fish Died (L Records, 1990), l'EP Motorcycle Shoes/ Look at Rocks, My Miserable Existence/ The Center (VHF, 1991), la cassetta The Day I Remembered Seeing Ice (Sweet Portable Junket, 1992) e il singolo Subterranean Marijuana Garden/ USTV (VHF, 1992) si imposero fra le bande` piu` creative della scena di Washington.

Rake Is My Co-Pilot (VHF, 1994) contiene soltanto due lunghe improvvisazioni, Thin the Herd e Motorcycle Shoes, dominate da un chitarrista jazz che ha ascoltato John McLaughlin fino alla nausea e da un tastierista che predilige il Moog. Un'aberrazione di Albert Ayler e Borbetomagus.

The single Squelch/ Phrase Text Slur (Fourth Dimension, 1995) heralded the double-CD album The Art Ensemble Of Rake/ Tell-Tale Moog (VHF, 1995), featuring Justin Chearno of Pitchblend. The sound is even more adventurous, bridging the gap between God Is My Co-pilot, Half Japanese and Boredoms
The first CD contains four lengthy suites. Klang Co (20 minutes) begins with minimalistic repetition that is soon dueting with thundering drums and wild guitar distortions. After about nine minutes, the rhythm decays and a chaotic swirl of faceless, scattered sounds (prominently Moog and saxophone) terminate the music.
Remote Sensing (13 minutes) begins with a terrifying eruption of jamming but the bacchanal loses rapidly steam and leaves behind a nuclear waste made of bubbling Moogs, drilling dissonances and harsh guitar mistakes. Remove any melodic element from the music of Albert Ayler and Art Ensemble of Chicago and add a sub-psychedelic indifference towards harmony.
Helio-Moog (23 minutes) opens with chaotic drumming and nervous guitar strumming, while the bass is singing a jazzy melody. Any semblance of structure soon implodes amidst galactic pulses and majestic distortions, as if Sun Ra and Jimi Hendrix were praying together. The dialogue between the instruments is noteworthy for not speculating at all on the timbres (which are almost always unpleasant) but focusing on the interplay, which exhibits all the neuroses of post-punk music.
The music of Quadrablenders is less eventful, darker, ghostly and almost ambient, a welcome relief from the tension of the previous pieces.
The second album contains 75 brief pieces, whose dementia reaches disturbing levels; a wild collage of abstract sonic miniatures that rarely coalesce in songs. The 4th is a masterpiece of punk-rock, the 11th and the 21st are masterpieces of avantgarde guitar, the 55th and following ones are space-rock at its best, the 64th and following ones are gothic/ambient psychedelia, the 73th and following ones are the childish conclusions of the whole big nonsense. A totally pointless genius, as Dada would have loved.

Preceduto dal singolo Squelch/ Phrase Text Slur (Fourth Dimension, 1995), il doppio CD The Art Ensemble Of Rake/ Tell-Tale Moog (VHF, 1995), che si avvale della collaborazione di Justin Chearno dei Pitchblend, presenta un sound che e` un incrocio fra God's My Co-Pilot, Half Japanese e Boredoms. Ovvero un collage di miniature piu` o meno astratte, che raramente coagulano in canzoni vere e proprie. Il primo disco e` strutturato in quattro lunghe suite: Klang Co (20 minuti) e` la meglio strutturata, Helio-Moog (23 minuti) la piu` caotica. Il secondo disco contiene addirittura 75 pezzi. La demenzialita` degli spunti giunge a livelli davvero preoccupanti. Geniale e del tutto inutile.
Rake's stylistic debts towards Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Can are also evident on Intelligence Agent, also known as G-Man (Squealer, 1996). But Rake also bridge psychedelia and progressive-rock with Slint's math-rock and Japanese noise.
In PunkRock Glo a jam of frantic percussion and guitar dissonance deteriorates in an eerie silence and bursts of spare noises. The dynamic is intriguing per se, but, on top of it, the noises proceed in a sort of galactic wake and are distorted in a sort of hallucinated manner. Empty space gets populated by a multitude of alien beings on drugs, but, from a distance, one only perceives an oddly revolving dust.
Hendrix's spectre is invoked one more time in Chair Throwing Incident (a 20-minute track), a manic ritual of pulsing drums and distorted guitar that slowly deteriorates and eventually leads to random guitar squeaks and buzzs evoking visions of cosmic explosions and radiations. This chaos slowly evolves in an almost orchestral drone, slow and harrowing, the guitars languidly wailing their feedbacks like violins, to compose the avantgarde's equivalent of a baroque adagio. The last minute of the suite is a terrible black hole where every sound disappear with a sense of death and devastation. Here Rake implement a theory that borrows equally from early Pink Floyd, surrealistic painting and Marinetti's futurism. If Hawkwind explored the rock side of psychedelia, Rake explore the experimental, noisy side of psychedelia.
Finally, a rocking riff appears halfway into the hellish chaos of B.D.B. Postscript.drv, a valpurgic sabbah pierced by painful screams and propelled by panzer drums. The demonic energy is carried over to the following 12-minute Filter Touch, initially reminiscent of Amon Duul's bacchanals but, after a surreal intermezzo of blues-jazz guitar jamming, occupied with a solemn, almost religious, mantra-like, brand of Hawkwind-style space-rock. After three tracks of free-form drones, the 12-minute ninth track, Eric Blood Axe Rules OK, returns to a rock format, albeit with much louder, panzer-grade riffing and pounding.
The first half of the album, in particular, is a masterpiece. It shows a combo in terrific shape with a terrific vision of a new genre of music.
Intelligence Agent, noto anche come G-Man (Squealer, 1996), evidenzia i loro debiti verso Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Mahavishnu Orchestra e Can, riallacciandoli con la il math-rock degli Slint.

Another double-CD album, Fighting 2 Quarters and A Nickle (VHF, 1998), and Resume The Cosmos (Camera Obscura, 1998), influenced by Indian music and featuring an arsenal of instruments, inflate the discography.

Il doppio CD Fighting 2 Quarters and A Nickle (VHF, 1998) e Resume The Cosmos (Camera Obscura, 1998), influenzato dalla musica Indiana e forte di un arsenala di strumenti (compresi alcuni casalinghi), inflazionano un po' la discografia.

From Quagmire is singer and guitarist Dorothy Geller, violinist James Wolf, and guitarist Vincent Van Go-Gogh (of Rake), and no rhythm section at all, an "art-folk" trio that focuses on dynamics and interplay rather than on carrying a tune and beating its tempo. The Tropic Of Barren (VHF, 2001) is a collection of "industrial madrigals", i.e. of tender, delicate, calm (and very long) songs that exploit a dark, treacherous, cryptic backdrop of dissonances. Suite Of Windmill And Sycamore is a most ethereal enunciation of their ideas. Tropic Of Barren is both harsher and more Brecht-operatic (like a whispered version of Art Bears). Suite Of Atoms and Media is an exercise in contrast: drilling noises and gently strummed acoustic guitar, fairy-tale vocals and twisted violin counterpoint. While shorter, Fragment of Watching is the abstract jam (all nuances and colors) that could work as the manifesto for the others.

From Quagmire's Caught In Unknowing (2002) and and Habitats In The Wound (VHF, 2005) were less vibrant and more serious, centered more obviously on Dorothy Geller's persona.

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