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The Dylan Group
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Sharing a member with the group Mice Parade, the Dylan Group nearly always draws some comparisons to the group T_______ because of their use of the V_______. It's one of those comparisons that music journalists like myself like to make because it's so damn obvious. In actually, though, while T_______ simply makes some nice melodic use of the V_______, the Dylan Group loves it. They not only love it, but they adore it. And they not only adore it, but they caress it all over and coax beautiful intertwining cascades of almost liquid sound out of it.

Just in case you didn't figure out the above puzzle, the group I'm talking about is Tortoise, and the instrument is the Vibraphone. Ever since their Self-Titled release came out back in the day, everyone and their brother has been compared to them (sometimes rightly). A more likely comparison, though, is that the Dylan Group sound somewhat like the aforementioned Mice Parade (who also share a label with them). This music is about rhythm and melody with an organic feel, and The Dylan Group piles all kinds of interesting instruments (marimba, gamelan, stylophone, congas, other percussion and old school keyboards) on top like delicious toppings.

Just in case you didn't believe me about the vibraphones, though, the first track of "Avila" showers down a beautiful melody for several minutes before a slick groove kicks in and propels the track into gear. The second track "Running In Pairs" continues things along nicely and adds some fuzzed-out guitars before dissolving in another shimmering wave of chimes. It's on the third track "Division Long," where electronic elements start making themselves felt more, with some percussion that chops and cuts and some basslines that pull in a hint of dub.

Just about the time you wonder if the group can rock out, they do. "The Crunch" runs well over 8 minutes long and starts out with a crash of guitars, percussion, and just about everything else before breaking off into another section with propulsive drumming. The track morphs several different more times before closing out with a bang again. Proving they also have a good sense of humour (and also keeping in line with a tradition of at least one cover track per disc), the group turns in an instrumental rendition of The Orb's "Blue Room" that doesn't stray much from the original but injects it with a nice organic lifeline.

The album closes out with the nearly 10-minute romp of "Julito's Way" and although it runs a bit long, it never gets too bland or jazzbo. Over the course of over 70 minutes, the group dips into tons of different genres, and although it's a bit hard to digest in one sitting, it's still a vibrant (hah! get it!) release. Put together with a loose feel that teeters on the edge of improvisation (save some of the digital trickery), it's a fun album of instrumental music and another great release on the Bubblecore label. And yes, Tortoise fans would probably enjoy it as well.

Rating: 7.25