Live at Subterranean

by mako sica



Chicago's Mako Sica return with another cassette release, with the band conjuring up two lengthy pieces live in their hometown plus an additional studio outtake from their amazing Dual Horizon album. You couldn't put together a more varied trio; the band is comprised of Polish guitarist Przemyslaw Krys Drazek (who also handles trumpet duties) formerly of longtime favorites Rope, drummer Michael Kendrick who cut his teeth for years in the underground metal community, and North Carolina bred guitarist/vocalist Brent Fuscaldo. Somehow the three managed to come together in the center of the United States, and with an arsenal of influences and references have managed to create a sound that is distinctly their own. Pinning the band down with terms like "psychedelic" or "improvisational" may help one get a vague enough reference, but these ultimately prove insufficient. The songs are expansive and constantly moving forward, always avoiding the pitfalls of mindless jamming and relying on the natural interaction of the three musicians, who possess an uncanny understanding of how to work with each other. Not surprisingly, there is a strong jazz influence to these songs, but the guitar team of Drazek and Fuscaldo is more than qualified to rock out and bring things into bold new territories. Kendrick's drumming perfectly complements his bandmates and provides the elastic framework that really sets the band apart from their peers.
The live performance was captured in August 2010, and monolithic 17 minute opener "Fate Deals A Hand" begins like smoke looming out across the horizon with an exotic Eastern feeling. Wordless chanting is used to great effect - sort of like a MUCH more restrained and melodic Haino-esque wail, at any rate an essential part of the band's musical vision. Things slowly build in intensity as the guitars create walls of swirling atmosphere while cymbals slowly crash about in waves as bells chime away. With the shamanistic vocalizing you probably won't be thinking "band from Chicago" as they lurch forward and become almost demonically heavy. The lead guitar snakes about while the rhythm work is created on the low strings for a sound that is a lot like you would get from an actual bass guitar. As we've mentioned in past reviews, these guys are experts at incorporating negative space for a totally unique effect, and even with members of the audience yammering away it almost seems like the voices were meant to be there. Bits of atonal free shredding stab like knives and bear a resemblance to legendary skronk rockers US Maple (whose Todd Rittman actually recorded the outtake on this tape). The band eventually cools down with sparse freeform drumming and some vocal-like trumpet work adding an elegant yet slightly disconcerting vibe before going into another suite of blissed out heaviness. Wow. Side 2 opener "Ancestors" begins with a steady drum plod carrying things forward while a thumb piano provides a unique kaleidoscopic melody. The dramatic low end guitar resembles something one might get on a synthesizer and the vocals create a cool mysterious feeling before the band explodes into a finale of beautiful noise that no doubt had some jaws dropping to the floor. As mentioned earlier, "Red Rivers" was cut during the Dual Horizon sessions. The song is another perfect demonstration of how well these guys know each other as people and musicians. The sharp bits of delayed lead guitar give out a jagged little melody alongside the gorgeous wordless vocals. The song has a lonely cinematic Western feel to it, eventually becoming reminiscent of Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" as it kicks into a steady groove with one guitar establishing an amazing dubbed out rhythm while the lead guitar dances about before wrapping up like a sunset.
An essential outing from one of Chicago's great unsung bands, and we are looking forward to the band's next full length which is in the works - can't wait!
- Aquarius Records, May 2012


released May 8, 2012

Cassette released on Chaos Of The Stars



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mako sica Chicago, Illinois

Mako Sica is a trio that formed in early 2007 featuring Przemyslaw Drazek (Rope), Brent Fuscaldo and Chaetan Newell. Since the band's formation, they've appeared on releases by La Société Expéditionnaire, Permanent Records, Slow Knife and Plus Tapes as well as National Public Radio's syndicated program Radio M. ... more

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