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Tombstone Valentine
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Hidden World , 7/10

Tombstone Valentine is a quintet from Indiana (vocalist and keyboardist Richelle Toombs, keyboardist Diane Hancock, guitarist Greg Toombs violin player Randy Schwartz, bass player Rick Wilkerson) that released its home recordings of four years on Hidden World (Aether, 1998). Their sound harkss back to the classics of 1960s' psychedelia but reinterprets them in an original manner. The suite Elastic Reality combines early Pink Floyd and cosmic Grateful Dead.
Green Sky Night opens the ceremony with forceful rhythm (courtesy of a guest drummer), droning violin a` la John Cale, free-form guitar chattering and intoxicated cantillation, thereby blending the ethereal element of Pink Floyd's Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, the percussive element of Amon Duul II's Phallus Dei, and the exotic element of Third Ear Band's first album.
Somewhere Here is an abstract jam of dissonances that reaches for the inner stream of consciousness. It resembles Grateful Dead's Dark Star except that here all instruments contribute to the "trip" with their own "noise". The guitar's wailing attains a psalm-like quality, while the bass sets a trancey pace, and the cacophony turns almost spiritual.
Krautrock In Three Parts is an explicit tribute to Faust, Can and Neu. In the first part, keyboards emit strange sounds while the guitar sketches a sort of raga. The second part is sparse white noise which in the third part gets somehow structured in a geometric series of patterns. This 18-minute three-movement fantasia is from beginning to end a chastened affair. No instrument takes the lead, no instrument rises above the others. The whole monolith is like whispered.
Devotion is mainly Toombs' show, as her operatic vocalizing turns into exotic chanting, while the instruments buzz in the background building up a calm pandemonium.
The disc closes with the 14-minute bedlam of Elastic Reality, the ultimate exercise in controlled chaos and the ultimate statement in psychedelic metaphysics: all instruments end in a majestic drone. The spiritual element returns and builds consonance out of so much and so radical dissonance.

Toombs also fronts In The Summer Of The Mushroom Honey.

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