Ten East: The Robot’s Guide to Freedom CD


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This is the second release by the Los Angeles-based Ten East. Ten East started up in the mid-’00s as a semi-improvised outfit. They caught the ears of Alone Records out of Spain, who released their debut Extraterrestrial Highway (now re-released by Lexicon Devil). The line-up here is a veritable stoner-punk supergroup: Gary Arce (Yawning Man, Sort Of Quartet), Mario Lalli (Across The River, Fatso Jetson) and Bill Stinson, and joining them are Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Obsessed) on bass; Bryan Giles on guitar (Red Fang) and Greg Ginn (Black Flag, Gone) on guitar and organ on almost half the tracks. Recorded at Ginn’s SST studio over several months, The Robot’s Guide To Freedom sees Ten East branching out in heavier, more aggressive territory than their first release, as well as tempering the brute attack with forays into more ethereal space-rock and ’60s/’70s-style psych jams. The music is a perfect encapsulation of the scenes these individual members helped create: the ferocious punk squawl of Ginn’s frenetic, free-jazz-inspired riffs which set California ablaze some 25 years ago, combined with the scorched desert-rock of stoner pioneers Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson and Kyuss. The music of Ten East is dense, multi-layered and worthy of many repeated listens. Lead songwriter Gary Arce has the knack for penning a totally non-generic riff — such riffs born from his love of the guitar work of Ginn, Eno, Steve Fisk, surf music and Tom Verlaine — and creating a truly lyrical piece of music, one which makes one forget that Ten East don’t and likely never will require a vocalist. Anyone into the sounds of the manic prog freakouts of early ’70s King Crimson, the surf twang of the Ventures, the spaced grooves of Guru Guru and Amon Düül, or the peyote-fried guitar work of primo Meat Puppets will find something in this music.