Hassara CDR reviewed by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
Hassara CDR reviewed by Luc Rodgers
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Oct 25, 2007, 22:16

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HASSARA Backyard I-III CDR

Three Lobed brings us the extremely limited (99 CDR copies of each) Backyard series by James Toth, aka Hassara, on one, less-limited edition CDR (500 copies). Here is the ever-touring guitarist for Wooden Wand (and regular Your Flesh contributing writer/columnist) in what seems to be his “safe place,” alone with a fuzzed guitar and nothing else. Death blues, vagabond traveler, and hot-rod-off-a-cliff all come to mind, but, at times, variations on the theme arise and dish out the drugs, so to speak.

“Messin' Up” blasts through the door with blistering distortion and a few notes thrown in to make it semi-musical instead of the dump truck pileup it mimics. It is questionable at first whether or not a guitar is responsible for these sounds, but the scales and notes and, later, the tones scream at you for not recognizing it immediately. “Cold Djin” is the backroom of an opium den featuring a young, passed out Clapton still fingering the licks to a throng of nodding, hazy heads. The drums and repetitive bass line add a sense of calm to the frayed nerves and it is here where, if not wary, you will lull into full relaxation.

All of a sudden, you are soiling yourself in complete bewilderment asking around, “How did I get here?” “I Know You My Friend” is the intro to the psyche shows you find yourself at when a trusted friend promised, “Seriously, they will blow your mind.” Ten minutes of distorted wah that only goes with strobe lights, fog, and the anticipation of the drums and bass coming in to pummel an already foggy head. The problem is they don't. Nothing actually happens. It is a great buildup to, well, the next song, “Zodiac Blues (w/intro).” Here is the cosmic journey long fabled and finally put to tape. Sort of. A strumming background holds up a listenable, melodic solo, but nothing that was hoped for.

The aptly titled “Road to Nowhere I” goes just there. Oh, wait…there's “Road to Nowhere II,” which seems identical at first but later evolves into a doomier undertone, giving it flesh and interest. By the end it is gotten so dark that the knees will quiver and the genius of Sunn O))) will be questioned, but only temporarily. “The Zoo” adds some boogie-funk stomp rock sure to please booted dancers. The drastic change reminds the listener of the fact that this is a compilation with its lack of fluidity. “Isis To Ra” closes it with something that at first piques interest but only until you're at minute seven and it…is…still…going.

Backyard I-III is essential listening/owning for the rare psyche collector due to its rarity and bloodline. Others should head for something more intricate, meatier, and attractive. [Three Lobed]

- Luc Rodgers

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