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  Sonic Unyon  
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In the mid to late 90s, i was involved with a Dreampop Tape Tree. For the benefit of our younger readers, back in those days people used to take audio cassettes (your parents have some -- ask them for an example), record a variety of interesting music on it that they thought other people would not have heard (this is before iTunes, so local bands pretty much only sold music to people who came to their shows), and then send them to other like minded music geeks, expecting tapes in return. It was a fun and cost effective way to learn about new music, while spreading word on the bands you loved.

In one of these swaps, a Canadian fellow included a few tunes by SIANspheric. I fell in love with their heavily distorted hard rock, and spent much time searching for their CDs, which was actually a very frustrating experience, because SIANspheric have never had distribution in this country. I eventually found an early MP3 download site that sold me the MP3s of Somnium, which i promptly decoded to regular CD so that i could play it loud on my stereo. (Yeah, i'm a little old-fashioned like that.) A few years later, non-Minion affiliate Kerry picked up The Sound of the Colour of the Sun, SIANspheric's third album, when traveling in New York state. She burned me a copy, and again i adored it, so i wrote a nice review for EvilSponge, as a way of assuaging my guilt about adoring an album that i essentially stole from the band.

The point is this: i love SIANspheric and have for years, but RGB is the first actual SIANspheric product that i have ever owned. I found it on ToneVendor, but i am sure that other reputable online retailers have it in stock as well. And you can rush out and spend your hard earned cash on this little gem. If you like the shoegaze, if you are fond of loud droning guitars, if the idea of a band creating a wall of echoing sound appeals to you, then it will be money very well spent.

SIANspheric have become one of the better shoegaze bands in existence right now. They did it with a minimum of fanfare, slowly cranking out a few wonderful releases of intense music. Heck, even Tracers (who is not a shoegazer, by any stretch of the imagination) was impressed with the 10 minutes we saw the band play as South by SouthWest in 2006. That's saying something...

I could go on and on about this release, discussing the various tracks in excruciating detail, but i will spare you the ranting and instead just mention a few classic tunes that grace this compilation.

RGB kicks off with a one guitar chugging under some intense overdrive while another tinkles along under tremolo, accompanied by light drums and a faint bass. Then both guitarists hit their fuzz pedals at once, and the song goes into outer space: all chugging, grinding guitar chords, with the vocalist singing somewhere back in the haze of sound. I can hear him say, "And i say to myself" and ... some other things, but those are the only words i am sure that i can hear. It could be my mind projecting order onto the faintly heard voice, coupled with the fact that this tune is called To Myself. This was one of the standout tracks from The Sound of the Colour of the Sun, and it sets the tone for this compilation quite nicely.

A few tracks pass by, another from that same album and a previously unreleased tune that rocks quite nicely in an "early Rolling Stones filtered through My Bloody Valentine" kind of way, and then SIANspheric hit us with another classic, The Stars Above, from their debut Somnium. This is a much calmer tune, built out of subtle layers of echoing and chiming guitar backed by the other guitar e-bowed for droning purposes. It is a lovely song that Verve fans will adore.

I really like the demo of Rave On, Full On, a version of which was apparently on the album There's Always Someplace You'd Rather Be, which i have never heard, so i can't vouch for how different it is. This, however, is a messy chaotic noisefest that overloads whatever recording device they were using. The voice is echoed to the Yukon and back, and the guitars are so distorted that you just hear a wall of fuzz. Yeah, baby! This reminds me of a Spaceman3 live bootleg i have. Fun stuff, but not for the faint of heart.

Tous Les Soirs, also from The Sound of the Colour of the Sun, moves things back down a notch into the realm of achingly slow echoed guitar beauty... Until after a minute and a half one of the guitars hits the overdrive pedal, and the song becomes a long slow noise fest. Really lovely, if you like that sort of thing.

I Like The Ride is another great tune originally off of Somnium. Again, this song starts off with tinkling guitars and then explodes into an overdriven heavy metal frenzy that Hum would have been happy to call their own.

Okay, i think you get the point. SIANspheric make great tunes out of guitar effects. There is just under 64 minutes of music on the CD, and it's all good. Shoegazers need to track this compilation down. Maybe, if we get lucky, someone will start distributing their albums in this country too, or even re-releasing them...

RGB also comes with a DVD. I haven't watched it. I really have no desire too. Yeah, sure, videos, whatever. I just don't care. Maybe some day when i have time i will put it on. If you really enjoy watching videos, then this might be an added feature for you. I have just been very pleased to have such a great CD. A CD that has hardly left my player in about 3 months!

Related Links:
  Band website:
Label website:
Album review: The Sound of the Colour of the Sun
Festival Performance review: SXSW06 on Sat.18.Mar

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