Cara and Mike Gangloff have been deeply engaged with the history of American song and American drone for years: now they have the potent support of the Great American Drone Orchestra to help them articulate their vision. Knock On Life’s Door tears into the flesh of familiar old songs and stretches them out into wondrous new things. Remarkable double LP on MIE Music.
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- Knock on Life's Door by Cara & Mike Gangloff with the Great American Drone Orchestra
8/10 Robin Staff review, 24 August 2016
There’s a Great American Drone Orchestra? Cool. Can I join? Please take me with you. If ever this crew of psychedelic instrumentalists could make an opus, it may just be ‘Knock on Life’s Door, a record in which experimental couple Cara and Mike Gangloff come to the fore to shape, stretch and shatter some American traditionals. You might know “Moon River” as that famous tune that played over and over and over ad nauseum in ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ -- here, its hummed melody floats through blips of accordion, acoustic drones and brambles of acoustic picking.
That’s what we’re going for, basically: an imagining of storied old American music as New Weird America music. “Moon River” is a lovely listen, in that its sauntering psychedelic drones only make the returning central motifs (“offfff to see the worllllld”) all the more euphoric. “Misty” is a stuttering marriage of strums and wired violin trip-ups, creating a musical chasm for Cara Gangloff’s voice to jump over. It’s interesting to hear an orchestra improvising underneath such established songs, as if they’re creating entirely new scenarios for tunes that’ve been lying dormant in history.
It’s the percussive chaos of “Cry Me A River” that best shows the noise inclinations of the Gangloffs off, with voices intertwining with jarring contradictions (high and wild hums versus fucked off statements of fact) as the orchestra goes haywire on drums, strings and the like. These kind of tracks show how much this music is being felt: rather than pick these tunes off sheets, they’re being shaken out of the songbook.
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