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All the Way

(The Social Registry)

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For much of this decade, Brooklyn-via-Olympia duo Kevin Doria (guitar, bass) and Joe Denardo (guitar) have vibrated our increasingly toxic atmosphere with their string-driven drone dirigibles, creating an oeuvre of both academic rigor and palliative rock power. Their music is vast and evokes nature (mostly air and water), but not in a platitudinous or corny way. Rather, Growing seem to channel these elements and then subtly manipulate them, forming stimulating sound waves on which lofty thoughts can surf.

Past Growing releases like The Sky's Run into the Sea and The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light levitate among the most sublime drone full-lengths of the '00s. The group lovingly contour the universal hum (that noise your fridge makes) into tone blankets of exquisite comfort. It's new-age music for people who wished Popol Vuh hadn't gone mushy in the '80s.

All the Way contains six tracks, but the disc is really one 36-minute opus. "Green Flag" starts things with clipped guitar stutters augmented by modulated frog croaks—like Robert Fripp in an unusually playful mood. "Wrong Ride" finds Growing beautifully emulating broken-signaled synthesizers with their guitars. Tempo, rhythm, and tonalities subtly morph as the disc progresses, but by tracks 5 and 6, things start to fragment. "Lens Around" is a slurred guitar- sc(r)ape, a swirling abstraction of previous elements; in "Reconstruction," the atoms get further atomized, like a dubadelic version of all that's come before it. The music becomes disjointed, cubistic, and, against the odds, rather pretty. Then it plummets to earth in mechanical failure, while somehow still feeling triumphant.

Ultimately, All the Way is odd ambient music geared for gearheads and anyone interested in the guitar's capacity for unconventional tones (all 387 of you).