Gorguts, Intronaut, Brain Tentacles, Without Waves | Subterranean | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Brain Tentacles

Brain Tentacles

D. Randall Blythe

Gorguts, Intronaut, Brain Tentacles, Without Waves 

When: Sat., Oct. 8, 7:15 p.m. 2016
Price: $20, $18 in advance
Relapse Records’ press release for Brain Tentacles’ new self-titled debut calls the trio’s output “metallic jazz,” but I want to get one thing straight: it takes more than a horn to make something jazz. As weird and all over the place as this record is, it’s basically riff-based noise-rock with oddball instrumentation—drummer Dave Witte (Municipal Waste, Melt-Banana) and bassist Aaron Dallison (Keelhaul) are joined not by a guitarist but by saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest), who occasionally adds vocals, electric piano, or synth. The music doesn’t meaningfully depend on interaction among the players, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s not jazz. It’s not even “jazzy.” But it’s pretty great. Lamont’s battery of pedals and processors often splits his horn into a demented cluster of parallel tones, which on his more frantic lines makes it sound like a bumblebee the size of a beanbag chair trapped in your car and bouncing from window to window. Witte’s crisp, authoritative drumming pinballs from style to style: busy black-metal blasting, thrashy skank beats, sassy half-time stomps, or freight-train death-metal double kick. Even when his bandmates settle into mellow psychedelic moseying, he keeps up a tense Krautrock groove. Brain Tentacles’ livelier material has some of the bratty, brainy energy and nightmare-circus vibe of early Mr. Bungle, and I suspect they crank up its brashness in part because they know they need to sell this odd lineup to the heavy-music crowd. They open “Gassed” with a sample of some guy complaining about a horn player ruining a great song: “Fuck rock ’n’ roll sax!” he concludes. In Brain Tentacles, though, the sax can’t ruin the song—it carries the song. You have to get down with it or get out of the way.
— Philip Montoro

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