Recent reviews of our 2011 release "Gamma Like Very Ultra"
muxing up genres and textures and noises into one stewing broth. much more funky than you’d imagine. and i feel no shame in bashing out the word funky there. definite swing to this shit. (more...)
Latest Review from Sonic Masala
Man, where do you even start with Gamma Like Very Ultra? Weird as fuck doesnt even start cutting the mustard, pal. Their warped compositions are steeped in free form jazz, but deliberately eschew musical norms to inject a large dose of silliness and wild abandon, so much so that listening to their self-titled album is like eating a tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream whilst sitting naked on a block of ice. They list Zappa, CAN and Captain Beefheart as influences, with a healthy dollop of Sonic Youth no wave dissonance, which is fairly prescient.
Kitty Katt of Powhaus Productions says,
"Mixing electronics, acoustic instruments and shoestrings, GLVU combines jazzy math with pop sentiments...
Immediately my attraction to these guys is that they are playing in the avante-guard playground and DON’T take themselves ultra serious. That can be rare in that world...."
Stephen Siegel of the Tucson Weekly
According to its one-sheet, Gamma Like Very Ultra began life in 2006 as a "far-out tape-collage project" between bassist/vocalist Joseph De La Rosa and keyboardist/trumpeter/vocalist Christine Heinisch. That version of Gamma Like Very Ultra produced an EP, Silhouettes in Velvet, in 2008. Since then, the group has acquired guitarist Ariella Lake and drummer Roger Reed, and this week, GLVU releases its debut, self-titled album on Facetrain Records.
The album demonstrates that, five years later, the band is still pretty far-out.
The group is clearly influenced by musicians and bands who regularly get called avant garde, and you can add Gamma Like Very Ultra to that list. The problem with some of those acts is that they tend to take themselves a bit too seriously. That isn't the case with Gamma Like Very Ultra, who seem to be having an awful lot of fun, fucking around with sounds, rhythms and the soft-loud dynamic.
Vocals are pretty rare here, and for the most part, that's for the best. A song like "Electric Bills"—in which De La Rosa affects a Mike Patton-meets-Grover (yes, the Sesame Street character) growl, which then becomes a bad accent of indiscriminate origin, to announce things like "I don't pay my electric bill"—seems like an unsuccessful attempt to be creepy. It's a relief when "Oh, 20th Century"—a nifty slice of jazz, heavy on the trumpet and abetted by a proggy guitar passage—comes along next. (The songs on the album mostly flow seamlessly into one another, so that it sounds like one long piece of music.) It's one of the best songs here, and it's pretty darn great.
The most obvious touchstones on the album are Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, though the band's bio also cites Can and Sonic Youth as influences. But "Wes Parker's Allergy Song" tosses some Primus funk into the mix, and the vocals seem taken from the Les Claypool playbook, too. Other highlights include "Kim and Kelley Deal," which has nothing to do with the Breeders but is instead a delightful meshing of jazz rhythms, a clean guitar jangle and a beautiful trumpet tone; the propulsive "Henry the Wittiest Cow" (which, again, would fare better without the guttural vocals); and the brief, album-closing "New Orleans," which pays homage to the second-line tradition of its titular city. link to article