Dredg's El Cielo to take music world by storm
By Christina LaRose
It sounds like the plot of a banal prime-time movie: an obscure band with an equally obscure name creates a album of such sonic perfection that it takes the music world by storm, rescuing art from the grip of corporate control while shaking post-Nirvana listeners out of their complacency. Sound amazing? It's true.
El Cielo, (Spanish for "the sky"), the new album from the Los Gatos, California based Dredg is an amazing effort, a record bound to launch the band out of anonymity and onto greater success.
Adapted from the geological process of dredging, or digging into rivers, the moniker "Dredg" suggests contemplating beneath the surface, a philosophical bent evinced by both El Cielo and "Leitmotif," the band's 1999 release.
Whereas the conceptual framework of "Leitmotif" depicts an adventure through the world, El Cielo is the product of a more contemplative, settled group: "All you need is a modest house in a modest neighborhood," declares the song "Same Ol' Road."
Although occasionally evoking the eccentricity of Pink Floyd, the musicians of Dredg remain true to their roots by utilizing the distinctive genre of West Coast rock to craft powerful, captivating songs.
But El Cielo contains more than just songs; it explores ideas rather than enslaving them in the hackneyed verse/chorus/verse format of popular rock.
This desire to grow and explore is precisely what distinguishes Dredg from the amalgam of post-punk, neo-garage rock that currently plagues the music scene.
El Cielo captures the theme of dreamscapes; each song recounts an episode of sleep paralysis. Combining both complex, tribal-like percussion and intricate vocal harmonies, the album builds with power and grace. Songs mesh smoothly, feeding into each other to create a unified whole.
Diverse genres complement the album: pianos, violins, and cellos create a classical feel while fragments from radio programs, Eastern chanting, and choral arrangements murmur amidst conventional rock elements.
On the first experience, such an eclectic synthesis catches the listener off guard. But Dredg effortlessly combines various influences into a cohesive- and beautiful- album.
Although El Cielo is likely to reach only a small audience, songs such as "Sanzen," 'Sorry but it's Over," and "Convalescent" could easily function as radio singles. Most of the album, however, is the type of art that fails to elicit mainstream appreciation.
"You might not see things yet on the surface, but underground, it's already on fire," noted the Indonesian writer Y.B Mangunwijaya. While "Orph" and "Leitmotif" set the indie world ablaze in the late nineties, El Cielo is destined to finally bring Dredg to the surface.
For more information, visit Dredg's website at www.dredg.com