Podcast: The Gnome Sorcery Federation

Independent music is alive and well, giving us the last bastion of creativity in a corporate mass-produced world. I was given a homemade CD of music by Gnome Sorcery Federation of Portland Oregon… well, 10 tracks of GSF, plus 7 tracks from The Bastards of Chaos. For the sake of space, I will stick to GSF for now.

The first thing you need to know is that this is a direct to computer collection as picked-up by a cheap microphone, not something that was professionally produced. Like most independent bands, I assume The GSF doesn’t have a lot of cash. My understanding, however, is that there will be some professionally produced work available in the near future.

There are no vocals here. What we have instead are instrumental beds for some solid tunes. I presume at some point that these will have lyrics added to them but for now we’re dealing purely with the band’s work as an instrument ensemble.

The CD, given to me by Jeremiah, aka DJ Grizzle, is an eclectic collection from two groups and consists of a mix of jam tracks and arranged, practiced pieces. Here are a few samples – with my notes:

Track 2 Mp3 | RealAudio Streaming – This piece reminds me a little of late 80’s Slayer: It’s that minor key main theme with augmented chords overlaid that does it, I think. It certainly has a bit of a death metal sound to it, but with the right lyrics it could just as easily be a dirge-like grunge piece.

Track 4 Mp3 | RealAudio Streaming – offers speed metal with some jarring stops that might work well with the right vocal. It’s one of those things that’s hard for me to imagine.. until I hear it with just the right vocal track.

Track 5 Mp3 | RealAudio Streaming – is very interesting. The feel, to me, is like a down-tempo Cannibal Corpse or Anthrax on Quaaludes – or maybe it’s Cobain. It’s a good metal bed begging for vocals with a good mix of repetition and variation.

Track 7 Mp3 | RealAudio Streaming – is VERY different. The thing that immediately sprung to my mind was one of the more exotic offerings of Frank Zappa: Complex tempos, walking lines that take long trips, and a little blues.

Track 8 Mp3 | RealAudio Streaming – has perhaps the most commercial sound of this collection. That’s neither positive nor negative.. to be ‘commercial’ means that it is something that would probably sell, with the right vocals and production. This track would also make a cool bed for a radio DJ or edgy talk show a la Howard Stern.

Track 10 Mp3 | RealAudio Streaming – Come to think of it, THIS is probably the most commercial-sounding track. Or at least, it’s the most produced. It has a certain kind of sound.. I can imagine this one as the theme music for an independent film. Movie producers are you listening?

Overall I like the sound. The band could use some tightening up in many of the arrangements – and some musical direction, but I expect that will come with time and with the chance to work with professional production equipment, when the band members have more opportunity to listen to their own work and make adjustments.

It’s exciting to see the development of new talent in real time and if you have the opportunity to go see The Gnome Sorcery Federation, you should do so. If you are a fan of this genre of music, you won’t be disappointed.

s., Chriss Pagani

Add. Links: The Gnome Sorcery Federation @ Myspace

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