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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 222 - 10/08/14

Under Songs
Hidden Shoal Recordings

DrAlienSmith is the solo project of a Perth-based producer and musician called Alan Smith. Smith has formerly taken part in musical projects including Lux Mammoth (with Cat Hope), Matzal (with Steve Matzkov) and Smidirin (with James W.I.T. Smith). Now he is his own Doctor. Dr. Smith, or rather DrAlienSmith. Is that Dr. Rock?

Under Songs, an EP, is DrAlienSmith's debut record. The EP holds four tracks, and spans the wide instrumental spectre of Alan Smith. Smith is a producer/mix-master who spends a lot of his time at his Bergerk! Studios, Perth, mixing and/or mastering other people's recordings. Over the last fifteen years, he has worked with more than 300 bands, including Tangled Star. But, for now, or at least over the last two years, he has spent some time writing, performing, recording and mixing his own material as well, resulting in Under Songs.

Hidden Shoal describe Smith's Ep as '...soundtrack music to dark and reflective moments; a melodic slow burn...'. Furthermore, the label states that Smith/DrAlienSmith is '...drinking deep from the poisoned well in which the streams of doom, shoegaze, sludge and post-rock co-mingle'. They (Hidden Shoal, still) also say that Smith '...drowns the listener in slow motion, treacle-thick riffs...', and that: 'Atop distorted, detuned bass guitar and cavernous drums, surges of noise and haunting synths weave through the mix like ghosts.' Dare to dive into Smith's musical pool.

"Underslung", "Guth and Zeno", "Connective Tissue" and "Endo Turn" is a test on how you adapt to and consume the speed and motion of slow-floating, guitar rock such as this. Smith is in no hurry to capture his listeners. Under Songs is totally on his terms and his premises, and you had better not drop out to early. I sense that I need to adjust to get into his music, and I am not sure if I get totally into the slow groove. Hidden Shoal close their description of Smith and his Under Songs by telling us this is '...a stirring exercise in monolithic instrumental songcraft, densely atmospheric yet wonderfully accessible.' I am not sure if this is accessible to me, or if I am the right listener for Under Songs. I find this to be a too hard, too tough, too challenging listen, and it is not giving me enough in return.

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