“Marginal” C41 (Alterity 101)

I am one lucky dude, getting all these cassette tapes sent to my front door, and all I have to do is write a little something about them! How come all you other suckers out there aren’t doing this? It’s like a bonanza! A bonanza, I tell you! And sometimes, when the moon hits the water over the ocean just right, I’m #blessed with the element of true, unadulterated surprise. I then usually drown that surprise in celebration beers, and tonight is no different. Tonight I’m getting my celebration beer on about an experimental tape by a couple of guys who don’t even care what you think. Not even a little bit! Darin Gray, who pounds the electric bass, and Bill Horist, who jams on that electric guitar, pretty much have the chops to do whatever they want, and they really, really do whatever they want! Whether it’s shred like metal geniuses or plink and pluck like nightmare pointillist poltergeists, Gray and Horist remain restless and active and in your face. Marginal is nine tracks of unwavering forward momentum, not merely noise and so not rock, an open blast furnace, ten strings of plugged-in dynamic thrust. I’ve chugged like six beverages or so in the tape’s forty-one minutes, and I’m feeling great about myself, great about life, and great about Darin Gray and Bill Horist. And I even learned the most important lesson of the day: Darin Gray plays in Nashville great William Tyler’s band! William Tyler is the shiz. If he’s got guys like D-Gray on his roster, he’s a smart man. Doesn’t even matter that something like Modern Country sounds nothing like Marginal. They’ll probably both make my year-end list anyway. Do people still do that? At least I’m not assigning arbitrary scores out of ten. That would be embarrassing. ([Whispering drunkenly:] You guys would get a high score though, maybe not a ten, but still a really good score!)

--Ryan Masteller