Red Stars Theory
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

But Sleep Came Slowly , 7/10
Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful, 7.5/10

Red Stars Theory turned Built To Spill's brainy trance upside down, emphasizing the trance, on their mostly-instrumental albums But Sleep Came Slowly (1997) and especially Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful (1999), which fused psychedelic, chamber and country music. Their songs were amoeba-like pseudo-jamming lattices that freely elaborated on a theme relying more on atmosphere and feeling than on structure or dynamics.
Red Stars Theory come out of Seattle's "lo-fi", highly independent milieu. The band was formed in 1995 by the two guitarists and songwriters Anthony Palmisanti and James Bertram (also in Lync, occasionally in Built To Spill, and later in 764-Hero).

The band debuted in 1995 with two EPs that will be collected on Red Stars Theory (Suicide Squeeze, 2001).

Helped out by drummer Jeremiah Green (of the Modest Mouse), bassist Jason Talley and violin player Seth Warren, they recorded But Sleep Came Slowly (Rx Remedy, 1997), a collection of quiet, introspective and mostly instrumental pieces. Like in the case of the Built To Spill, their songs are amoeba-like pseudo-jamming structures that freely elaborate a theme relying more on atmosphere and feeling than on catchy refrains. Their songs don't punch, they wander. They are not photographs, they are documentaries of emotions. The instrumental parts are designed to last and expand, frequently bordering on chaotic and cacophonous but never quite losing control of the center of mass. This method can achieve touching beauty and sublime tenderness, as in I Thought About You and Thick With The Paint Swaying (with Lois on vocals). The 10-minute Becomes For The Kind is both arduously complex and surprisingly delicate, an "acid" organ refracting the rough guitar riffs, the rhythm rising and subduing like waves, the lengthy coda built around a hypnotic repetition of the guitar theme until it dissolves in dub-drenched beats and jungle noises. The whispered aria of Nitetime Memories Of The Coastline glides on an almost ecstatic torpor. Discreet touches of xylophone, kalimba, organ, violin, synthesizer enhance the magic. While a few songs seem simply unfocused rehearsals, when the method works it yields mesmerizing strands of sound.

Red Stars Theory escono dal milieu estremamente indipendente del "lo-fi" di Seattle. Anthony Palmisanti (che fa anche parte di Modest Hoouse) e James Bertram (membro di Lync e, saltuariamente, di Built To Spill) sono i due chitarristi.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Alessandro Isopo)

La band debuttò nel 1995 con due EPs poi raccolti su Red Stars Theory (Suicide Squeeze, 2001).

In seguito, con l'aiuto del batterista Jeremiah Green dei Modest Mouse, del bassista Jason Talley e del violinista Seth Warren, registrano But Sleep Came Slowly (Rx Remedy, 1997), una raccolta di brani umili e introspettivi in gran parte strumentali. Come nel caso dei Built To Spill, le loro canzoni ricalcano strutture tentacolari e pseudo-improvvisate che elaborano liberamente un tema basato più su atmosfere e sentimenti che su ritornelli orecchiabili. I brani si dipanano in modo sinuoso. Non sono fotografie, sono documentari fatti di emozioni. Le parti strumentali sono costruite per protarsi ed espandersi, rasentando sovente strutture caotiche e dissonanti, senza mai perdere coesione. In questo modo il gruppo sforna partiture di toccante bellezza e sublime tenerezza, come in I Thought About You e Thick With The Paint Swaying (con Lois Maffeo al canto). I dieci minuti di Becomes For The Kind sono al tempo stesso di ardua complessità e stupefacente delicatezza, l'organo 'psichedelico' rifrange i grezzi riff di chitarra, il ritmo sale e ondeggia, la lunga coda è costruita attorno alla ripetizione ipnotica di un tema per chitarra fino a dissolversi in battiti dub e rumori jungle. L'aria soffusa di Nitetime Memories Of The Coastline fluisce in un torpore quasi estatico. Delicati tocchi di xylofono, kalimba, organo, violino e sintetizzatore aumentano la magia. Alcuni brani risultano incerti e sfocati, ma quelli che funzionano ci lasciano incantati.

On Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautiful (Touch & Go, 1999) there is precious little singing, and, except for one case, vocals are delegated to guesting female singers (including Lois Maffeo). The quartet plays a weird variety of folk-inspired psychedelic dirge, very often anchored to a low-key jamming of the guitars, sometimes enhanced by the wailing of a violin. This technique is best at work in the instrumental tracks, such as the opening How Did This Room Get So White and As a matter of fact, voice is a minor detail in the minimalistic sonata of Boring Ghosts. The effect can be trascendental, as in the longest (and instrumental) track, Parts Per Million, which begins as a folky version of an early Pink Floyd suite and then fades into clouds of reverbs and glissandos drifting over ghostly beats. The other tour de force, An Alarm Goes Off, is no less rooted in trance and hypnosis, but here percussive noises run the show and the pace slows down to a funeral march. Impressionistic and introspective ballads such as A Sailor's Warning and September resemble a cross between Tim Buckley and Codeine. Built To Spill come to memory, but in a rather anemic and raw form. Dirty Three too, in a less virtuosistic and more psychedelic version.

(Translation by Cinzia Russi/ Tradotto da Cinzia Russi)

Su Life In A Bubble Can Be Beautifil (Touch & Go 1999) i testi sono davvero minimi e le parti vocali sono delegate a vocaliste estranee al gruppo, tra le quali Lois Maffeo. Il quartetto suona una bizzarra (originale) varieta` di nenia psichedelica d'ispirazione folk, molto spesso ancorata ad un low-key jamming di chitarra, messo alle volte in risalto da un lamento di violino. Questa tecnica si esprime al meglio nei pezzi strumentali come How Did This Room Get So White, che e` il brano d'apertura e in effetti, la voce e` nient'altro che un dettaglio di poco conto nella sonata minimalista Boring Ghosts. L'effetto puo` raggiungere livelli trascendentali, ad esempio nel pezzo (strumentale) piu` lungo di tutti Parts Per Million che inizia come una versione folkeggiante nello stile dei primi Pink Floyd per poi sbiadire in nuvole di riverberi e glissando che galleggiano su ritmi spettrali. L'altro tour de force, An Alarm Goes Off e’ altrettanto radicato in trance e ipnosi ma adesso a condurre lo show sono le percussioni e il passo rallenta in una marcia funebre. Le ballate impressionistiche e introspettive A Sailor's Warning e September sembrano un incrocio tra Tim Buckley e Codeine. I Built To Spill vengono pure in mente ma in forma grezza, anemica, cosi’ come i Dirty Three in versione meno virtuosistica e piu` psichedelica.

Red Stars Theory's drummer Jeremiah Green joined bassist Adam Howrey, guitarist Ryan Kraft, vocalist Tristan McKay Marcum, keyboardist Mary Thinnes, and formed Vells. Their debut EP, Vells (Luckyhorse, 2003), contains folk-pop ditties such as Gun for Gun, Blue Blue Bones, Light on the Right In Sunless Seas. (Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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