A kinder, gentler Tower Recording greets us on "The Galaxies Incredible Transmission Field." I don't know if I'd call this accessible, but it teeters closer to that line than anything else I've heard from this ensemble. The ever revolving line-up on this release, recorded during the same period as the essential "Folk Scene," is P.G. Six, MV, Helen Rush, Tim Barnes, Samara Lubelski, S. Freyer Esq., Andre Vida, and the mighty Dean Roberts. If that sounds like an all-star team, it is.
"Galaxies" stands in stark contrast to "Folk Scene," despite being from the same time. Where "Folk Scene" was a display for short snippets that were like commercials about the dances going on inside their collective brain, "Galaxies" is full of documentaries where the drama is allowed to unfold naturally. Most of these tracks are much longer than their "Folk Scene" brethren, and they thrive in that context.
Take the subdued "Giggy Garbage Gods (777)," for example. These lazily spun folk meanderings are the embodiment of "Galaxies." Hazy, beautiful female vocals lull you into submission almost immediately. Acoustic drones float underneath as the words permeate the air like smoke from a bong. This entire track is shrouded in a cloud of mystery; it's like being at a party with twenty strangers, struggling to stay awake. The entire episode passes quickly before you notice, and the next morning you are sure it was just a dream. "Giggy Garbage Gods" is memorable without really being there.
The blues ragas of "Harvester" are the perfect opening for "Galaxies." Steeped in mud, this track moves along like the changing seasons. You watch one spot long enough and you'll see sand become glass. "Harvester" sucks you in with warm, autumnal colors and locks you down with the icy breath of winter. Once again, vocals are the main culprit here. It's a siren calling you to the rocks and as you run your vessel a ground, another voice is warning that "tomorrow never comes." The last half of this piece is chaotic, but still cohesive. Hypnotic percussion leads the way through the entire journey, always providing something for you to fall back on. This is a powerful statement to open an album.
There are many differenct faces being shown on "The Galaxies' Incredible Sensual Transmission Field." While most of these organic ruins showcase acoustic soundscapes, there are electronic manipulations as well. "Forum" transports the listener back in time 30 years whereas "Other Kinds of Fun" features tape manipulations used in an almost-straight ahead pop song. It's such a great mix of music that it's easy to get lost within its vastness.
The Tower Recordings have an aura about them that few bands do. In the years since 2001's "Folk Scene," the members have done so many other projects that it's impossible to keep track. But in that time, they have all grown as artists and found their own, unique voices. "Galaxies" is a powerful reminder where they came from, though. And it is also a lesson that what is great on its own, is absolute magic when brought together with other masters. I thought "Folk Scene" was the Tower Recordings seminal work. With the release of "The Galaxies' Incredible Sensual Transmission Field," I have been proven wrong. 9/10 -- Brad Rose (25 May, 2005)