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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dark Tooth Encounter Releases Debut

Dark Tooth Encounter is the name of the new music project from Yawning Man/Ten East lynchpin, Gary Arce, and drummer extraordinaire, Ten East’s Bill Stinson. Although joined by Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Obsessed, etc.) and Mario Lalli (Across the River, Fatso Jetson, etc.) on almost all of the seven tracks on their debut album, Soft Monsters, the approach is much more experimental and cerebral than many of the players’ previous work, sounding like an update on the classic ‘70s art-rock of Eno. With Gary supplying guitars (including lap steel) throughout, as well as keyboards and electronics; the metronomic beats of Bill Stinson; the angular guitar of Mario Lalli and the fuzzed-out bass work of Scott Reeder, Dark Tooth Encounter remains a unique proposition.

Purely instrumental, and aided by the astonishing production and studio work of Mike Shear, their music is a mixture of several different elements. There are two almost rootsy-sounding tracks in “Weeping Pines” and “Engine Drone” (a nine-minute epic which remains the album’s centerpiece and masterstroke, a phenomenal work that brings to mind the acid-fried guitar workouts the Meat Puppets once perfected); a breezy space-rock number such as “Deep Sleep Flower,” which borders on My Bloody Valentine shoegazer territory; the minimalist, aggressive drive of “Radio Bleed;” and the quieter, plaintive passages in “Alloy Pop” and “Hyper Air.” Anyone with an interest in post-punk instrumental rock will get a kick out of Soft Monsters.

Their sound incorporates small elements of the players’ other outfits, sure, but there’s also hints of math-rock, prog and shades of country-rock and psychedelia. DTE have already caught the ears of Ash Ra Tempel’s Manuel Gottsching and Pell Mell’s Steve Fisk, both of whom wish to work with the band in the future, but for now you have Soft Monsters, an album sure to be loved by stoners and art-rockers alike.

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