- Released: April 18, 1994
- Label: Drag City
Uncut - p.1243 stars out of 5
- "Amid the avant-garde blend of post-rock and folk, John Fahey-style, lie moments of real beauty."
- 1.Wedding in the Park
- 2.Work From Smoke
- 4.Every Five Miles
- 5.Thos. Dudley Ah! Old Must Dye
- 6.Is That a Rifle When It Rains?
- 7.The C in Cake
- 8.The Wrong Soundings
Gastr Del Sol: Bundy K. Brown, David Grubbs, John McEntire, Jim O'Rourke.
At this point, Gastr del Sol was pretty much just David Grubbs and Jim O'Rourke, though John McEntire was still around here and there on a couple of songs. There are a few other guests at points -- percussion from Steve Butters and clarinet from Gene Coleman, both on the lengthy, mysterious "Work From Smoke" -- but otherwise this was just the partnership going at it. Acoustic guitars were all the rage for the duo and that's what a listener will hear a lot of over Crookt's eight-song length. Other instruments and approaches do surface -- "Every Five Miles" adds electric guitar to the predominantly unplugged approach, while "Is That a Rifle When It Rains?" is actually a full-on rocker, with McEntire hitting the skins -- but generally electricity was only used for the microphones. Some numbers are near fragments, like the opening "Wedding in the Park," while others extend to over ten minutes. Anyone expecting, say, the fluid genre hopping of John Fahey or the more abrupt but still uncategorizable leaps of the Sun City Girls will find Crookt a different experience. Generally, there are abrupt, quick chord runs or soft, repetitive figures, often with plenty of pauses, over which Grubbs and O'Rourke do or don't quietly sing, as the mood takes them. One of the shorter numbers is among the most intriguing -- "Paranthetically," with only Grubbs and his piano over a minute and 20 seconds. Conversational in tone, it's an interesting if too brief approach. "The Wrong Soundings" ends the album on a nicely ragged note, starting with one of the calmer guitar leads on the album before moving into a seemingly random cutup of everything from full electric riffing to low-volume percussion hits and back. Indie obsessives who favor the Thrill Jockey stable will be pleased to hear "The C in Cake," the name of which indeed was the inspiration for McEntire's The Sea and Cake. ~ Ned Raggett