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If you’re not familiar with Patrick Grant and his Tilted Axes project, it’s basically a mobile rock concert—a marching band of sorts where the horns are swapped for electric guitars plugged into portable amps. Grant assembles a group of guitarists, and they then, as in a procession, perform original material together around streets, city squares, and even museums. You might be wondering how a project that is essentially intended for live performances could hold up in a studio setting, but their latest release Music for Mobile Electric Guitars proves the band is just as captivating recorded as it is live.
Occasionally, the instrumentals feel like they’re itching to be augmented with vocals on more traditional tracks such as “Shapes 1” or “Beaubien Blues,” but it’s on the far more experimental tracks, when the band reaches into atmospheric Durutti Column territory, that the concept works best. Songs like the jazzy “Kneadle Variation” extend into the far reaches of guitar music, celebrating the very instrument itself, and could have comfortably found a home on a record like Television’s Marquee Moon. The democracy and runtime of this album needn’t necessarily have been set to 11, but Music for Mobile Electric Guitars is nevertheless high on concept, ideas, and, overall, execution.
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