January 21, 2004


For a mellow high, itís Permagrin!

Their music was full of drum ní bass, Latin rhythms, and funk, but the band was at their best when they created a trance-like state with stacked loops and repetitive bass lines. The ďlive electronicaĒ band used to be a nine-piece, but it was pared down to drummer Louis Romanos and guitarist Dan Sumner. To facilitate their heavy sound and fill in the instrumental gaps, Selmer had an e-bow and a row of pedals, while Romanos controled the pre-programmed bass lines and crazy sounds.

The musicians had talent, but with so much technology at their feet, it was more important what they did with their talent. The first song had a trippy, pulsing bass line and psychedelic guitar lines looped one on top of another. The second song had a funkier, more danceable beat with Latin elements. Selmer had so many sounds stacked up at such a high tempo, the music created a feeling of madness or paranoia.

It's essential with repetitive music to create diversity, so it was nice when they brought things down with an African flute sample and some tribal drumming. To be contradictory, their multiple changes of direction within each song were a hindrance(I guess they can't win). It was difficult to keep focus on one thing. But, if you like free jazz, youíll like this.

The third song was a mid-tempo drum ní basser, while the fourth number was a steady Massive Attack-like jam that harbored an ominous bass line. The last song established Permagrinís sound as sleepy music. It had a moderate Latin groove, but the atmospherics reigned with Sumnerís high-pitched guitar.

If you want to lay your head softly against the wooden wall as you lose yourself in the music, seek out Permagrin. And a wooden wall.

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