There is a fellow named Andrew Smith in San Rafael, California with an unfortunate past. Enduring the childhood trauma of his father’s mental illness and ultimately his suicide, Andrew, who is known professionally as Grafting the Vine, has channeled unimaginable grief into a work of art called “Golden Gate.” While no doubt, it is primarily for his own healing, he openly shares his experiences and music with anyone willing to listen. A sincere tip of the hat.
“Golden Gate” opens on a very strong note with “Otis Burning,” a lumbering thick-walled crunch fest, filled with eerie and urgent keyboard accents. If there is anything resembling a “straight-forward” song, it is “Easements.” Full of killer riffs and tenacity, this one is especially satisfying. There are six more instrumental tales, each with its own nuance and personality. What these tales are is up to you. I recommend headphones, a dark room, and an open mind.
This album runs quite the gamut. One moment you are immersed in a trudging beast-like experience and then…no, wait, a manic fuzz-drenched freak-out instead. All the while yawning basslines and meandering, yet tasteful guitar runs permeate at almost every turn. All that coupled with an almost constant 4/4 distorted underlay (I swear I could almost hear Metallica’s “Harvester of Sorrow”). Sometimes, it is a bit too much, at least to my ears. All in all, a very good listen, just little bits at a time.
a very good listen, just little bits at a time
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