The Histronic - The Histronic
The Histronic: somewhere between a sans-Trey Anastasio Phish playing an extended version of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and a sans-David Gilmour Pink Floyd playing an unextended version of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” If Prince’s band ever splintered off and did their own cool-ass version of the J.B.’s, or if Booker T. & the M.G.’s ever took ecstasy, those jam sessions would sound like the Histronic. Drummer Stereo Adik, bassist Gill Finn, and keyboardist West Fox's debut album makes good on the promise of the last decade of intelligent dance music: listening to it you can think about everything and nothing at the same time. You can ponder the cosmos and pornography: zero and infinity (with apologies to Witold Gombrowicz’s Kosmos and Pornografia).
Tracks like “Sweater Vest” feature a warm keyboard blend of Page McConnell, Herbie Hancock, Merle Saunders, and Richard Wright. Other tracks like “Mage” start off slow and serene, but then shift gears and demand: dance hippies! Still other tracks like “Pelican Bay” uncover some of the bands later—STS9 et al.—influences, but though the thrust of the music is cerebral, they never forget the corporeal. The foundation of the Histronic is Adik’s machine-like drumming. Finn’s bass fills the bottom so well it sounds like another of Adik’s fancy electronic drums. Fox’s keyboard is thusly allowed to stereo its way here and there in a thoughtful, strolling manner. This formula—two for the body, one for the head—works. It works so well I’m willing to type that this is the best jamband album I have heard in 2008. And next year, with Phish injecting a whale-load of spunk into the jamband scene, the Histronic will hopefully capitalize and bring their brand of jam to a theater near you.