Thursday, February 5, 2009

Staples: Et Ret - Gasworks

Et Ret - Community

Et Ret - Letting Go Of The Balloon

Staples is a feature about, you guessed it, staples in my music diet. Albums that no matter how (im)perfect they are, or how old or new they are, I always come back to them because they're that awesome.

This was one of those records that I just kinda stumbled on when I was working at WMWM. Gave it a cursory glance, and being the fantastic MD that I was, also gave it a listen like I did most things. From the opening track, I was hooked and knew I had found something incredibly special.

Et Ret is a single guy who focuses on playing the violin, with Gasworks being his only recording. While Gasworks is violin based, I can't quite tell how many other instruments are used. It's definitely not just the violin as there are tracks where the piano and acoustic guitar are easily recognizable. Not that that really matters. So you know what instruments are used. Awesome. That doesn't give you much to go on now, does it?

Gasworks is the ambient/drone record you put on when you need some substance; one that falls in line with the likes of Colleen, The Dirty Three, or Hammock. Most songs have a solid beat that make it easy to get things done instead of melting into your couch. Gasworks is not background music by any means; there are songs with so many mysterious layers that you are rewarded with even a casual listen. Then there are the sparse tracks that showcase Et Ret's mastery of bedroom electronics and guitar plucking.

This is a remarkably gorgeous record. There isn't a single song that is lacking. Everything has it's place in creating an overall cohesiveness while each individual track forms a mood all it's own.

I have a lot of ambient records and admittedly, there are some that get brushed aside as the years pass, despite their greatness. Et Ret's Gasworks is one that has stuck with me and I get the feeling I'll never be able to shake it. It has so much to offer and is ideal for so many situations that it has proven itself worthy as a record that I'll always keep close by.

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