steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Robert Poss

"Distortion Is Truth" CD

Trace Elements Records

Genres: experimental, avant-garde, guitar

Trace Elements
172 East 4th St.
Suite 11D
New York, NY 10009

Feb 10 - 16 2003

Robert Poss is no stranger to the guitar.  He's been playing the instrument for years now, not only in a solo setting but also with the legendary Rhys Chatham and as a founding member of Band of Susans.  His back catalogue is extensive, having been involved with more recordings than one would care to name.  Distortion is Truth is one of two releases that came out in 2002 (Crossing Casco Bay is the other), and it marks a very experimental outing for Poss.

On the CD's 16 tracks, we're treated to a whole panoply of sounds; Poss's multi-genre background really comes through in the music.  The songs run the gamut from fast, punk-esque material to twangy instrumentals to startling avant-garde pieces.  "Brakhage," for example, is a short exercise in ambient guitars and experimental sound.  It has a very comforting feel to it.  The piece after it, "Radio Free Albemuth Revisited," is then a bleepy, spasmodic track with an eerie atmosphere.  Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there's "You Were Relentless," a powerful, punk-influenced track with strong vocals, energetic guitars, and pounding drums.

Also nice is "Improvised Duo," a track recorded live with Tom Kelley.  It's a sonic burst of raw energy with a really nice sound to it.  "Where Do Things Stand" also carries this energy, but is slightly more accessible.

Altogether, Distortion Is Truth is a very satisfying guitar record that really shows how much can be done with the instrument.  This will appeal not only to fans of Poss himself, but also to fans of the guitar itself.  Recommended.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]