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Guardian Alien: Spiritual Emergency

by Jesse Jarnow on May 27, 2014

With a debut 2012 cassette titled Drums> Space> Jam overflowing with Greg Fox’s kozmically kinetic percussion and converging waves of harmonic synths, the improvising longhairs in Brooklyn’s Guardian Alien long ago set a course for ecstatic mind explosion. But on Spiritual Emergency, their second proper album for Thrill Jockey, the group (recording as a quintet) side step into the self-disassembling jam bardos between wandering formlessness and purposeful nirvana. Colored by Turner Williams Jr.’s electrified Indian zither, vaporous pieces like “Tranquilizer” and “Mirage” bristle with texture. But the band doesn’t really get cooking until the 20-minute title track, Fox’s drums pulling the musicians through wormhole after wormhole. By the end, it’s just machine-elf chatter, some screaming and the dramatic detonations of a group that knows how to sweat.

Authors: Jesse Jarnow
Artist: Guardian Alien
Album: Spiritual Emergency
Label: Thrill Jockey