Tractor Hips
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Tractor Hips , 6.5/10
Brian Fraser & Chris Palmatier: Slowdown the Hoedown , 6/10

Tractor Hips was an instrumental trio from Chapel Hill (North Carolina) that released what was virtually a compendium of post-rock with the album Tractor Hips (Friction Media, 1996). Swimming between the remnants of Soft Machine's jazz-rock (The Universe Seen Through The Eye Of The Needle), Can/Faust's kraut-rock (Echoes From The Powerplant) and John Zorn's avant-jazz (Trunk), the trio delivered the most literate album ever in the genre.

Brian Fraser, who had played in avant-jazz ensembles, moved to San Francisco in 1998 and hooked up with old buddy Chris Palmatier. Together they released the film soundtrack Slowdown the Hoedown (Brian And Chris, 1999), credited to Brian and Chris. This work, too, is a mesmerizing contribution to the advance of progressive-rock, but mediated via the folly of Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. The duo concocts a stew of folk-rock (Undone Undine), trip-hop (The Science of Vectors), electronica (Transbay Tube), world-music (Jakarta International Airport), with occasional incursions in free-jazz and minimalism. March to the Sea bridges the gap between King Crimson and Tortoise and may be their ideal manifesto.

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