Macha, See It Another Way (Jet Set)

Posted November 29th, 1999 by admin · No Comments

Macha
See It Another Way
Jet Set
By: Eric G.

Mixing traditional Eastern music like Javanese Gamelon Gong with experimental indie rock sounds like a bad idea, but this quartet from Athens, Georgia makes a strong case for it on its second album. The impact of Macha’s music is far more effective live than on record, but recorded music still impacts unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Just watching these guys switch from xylophones and electronic steel drums and organs to traditional bass, guitar and drums is pretty amazing. The authenticity is easier to convey in a live setting, whereas on record it can sound prefabricated or contrived.

These guys are amazing musicians and the blend of spacey rock with ancient Eastern tones is an unique sound, particularly for an Athens band. I admit I cringed at the thought of this band before I saw it perform because I immediately lumped it into that whole Elephant 6 fad of awful hippie jam rock led by bands like the Olivia Tremor Control. But Macha is not masturbatory jam rock. This band finds strange grooves and harps on them, but it’s more like Stereolab’s repetitiveness than self-indulgent jam rock.

See It Another Way is an engrossing albeit short record. The dense songs are segued with purely ethnic sounding interludes. “Salty” has a droning, snaky feel with breathy vocals, and it manages to balance the Eastern sounds in its percussive backdrop. “Until Your Temples Are Pounding” mixes fuzzy bass tones with an Indian snake-charmer melody that is very uplifting. The finest moment on this record is “The Nipplegong” with its heavy-lidded vocals that float like flakes in a snow-globe. See It Another Way lures you in deeper with every listen. See this band live and then listen to its records; it might not be the same the other way around.

Tags: review