I‚Äôve reviewed several albums made by Mills College alumni and faculty for this site, and thus far they‚Äôve followed a fairly standard pattern ‚Äď electroacoustic, exploratory, personal, academic, austere, conceptual, &c. Grex, on the other hand, takes their cue from farther back, when art-college-gestated bands like Genesis and Henry Cow were musically voracious, ridiculously intense, and technically adventurous. In short: prog.
The duo of Grex was spawned from the Mills scene, but their sound, all the way down to processed woodwinds and ripping guitar tones, is highly indebted to the sprawling compositions, hairpin musical bends, and theatrical intensity of those ‚Äė70s groups. Overtly noisy at times, and at times unabashedly tripping on Ornette Coleman and harmelodics, they add even more ingredients to the gumbo originally stirred by those British groups. This CD compiles two EPs, one with the core duo and one with a full band that‚Äôs slightly more traditional and song-oriented.
The combination of American folk styles with progness is an interesting one at times, especially on the duo EP. Although it‚Äôs not always comfortably articulated here, Grex has a lot of potential to develop some really interesting, unmistakable personality as they go on.