Gone, Greg Ginn's off-and-on instrumental trio format, return after nearly a decade of quietude with the double-disc onslaught The Epic Trilogy. The title refers both to the number of songs (guess!) and their length, just over 15 minutes apiece. The odd thing this time out is that each disc consists of exactly the same recordings, but the versions on the second disc are overlaid with vocals by ex-Bad Brains singer H.R. The effect on the vocal tracks is quite peculiar: singing through a battery of effects, H.R. isn't going for a traditional verse-chorus style in the slightest. He's not even really singing recognizable words most of the time, his heavily processed vocals sounding more like another instrument in the mix, meshed against Ginn's guitars, Andy Batwinas' bass, and the tick-tocking drum machine that's holding down the bottom end.
That said, H.R.'s unique blather does at least add an interesting technical element to the three tracks, which on the first disc have a much harder time holding the listener's attention. This blend of pounding electronic drums and noisy post-hardcore guitar is nothing new: among other acts, Killdozer and Drain (a Butthole Surfers side project led by King Coffey) were doing something very similar in the late '80s and early '90s, and of course all these bands owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Albini's Big Black. But The Epic Trilogy doesn't have the nasty, noisy edge that powered those groups, and Ginn outsmarts himself throughout: these songs would potentially have use as epic-length one-chord Krautrock-style grooves that would develop a hypnotic power, but every so often Ginn changes from one monotonous riff to another and then back, as if he's in danger of getting bored himself. The jarring shifts back and forth break the motorik mood.
The Epic Trilogy isn't awful, but even by the fairly low standards of Gone, it's frustrating in its unevenness.
|Yummy, Yummy, Yummy / Greg Ginn||Gone||15:08|
|More and More / Greg Ginn||Gone||16:18|
|Hip Hip Hooray / Greg Ginn||Gone||15:46|