Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Thurston Lava Tube - Move Over Rover, Let Clover Take Overdotdotdotdot
artworkAlan Jenkins' Thurston Lava Tube continue to trash boundaries with creative and tweaky instrumentals that lean on surf. This is an adventurous CD, and not at all for the purist. If strange music is your thing, or you are truly adventurous, this CD has just what you're looking for. There's nothing normal about it, yet it's not stupid gimmicky at all.
Picks: Penetration, Gluon Boy, Lumpy Gravy, The Man With No Ping, Dogmatic, Lullaby Of the Leaves, func_surf entity, Rocket Science, Being And Nothingness, Pempslider, Fox Sharp, Badger Minor, Don't Eat Aluminium, Dogs Are From Pluto, Forget About Freeman

Track by Track Review

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Well now, this is a different arrangement of the Pyramids' "Penetration." The constantly churning Leslie drone gives it an astral feeling, while the bell-tone break lead furthers the hypnotic effect. The guitar is not quite the main event on this aural soundscape.

Gluon Boy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Gluon Boy" is an interesting track, with dark fuzz and echoed salt water guitar lines, offset by organ and dangerous effects. Futurist and intense, spacy and thematic, and feedback and distortion laden verses.

Lumpy Gravy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Completely unlike their earlier version, Frank Zappa's "Lumpy Gravy" rocks and develops a surf edge. It's just tweaky enough to do justice to its author, just surfable enough to play nicely on the curl, and just psychedelic enough to cross onto that stage. It all ends with sirens and a bugle call.

The Man With No Ping dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

fairly dry damped guitar plucks out a little melody, supplemented with glissandoes and churning organ. Surf and geeky playfulness coexist in harmony in "The Man With No Ping." Pretty fun!

Dogmatic dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A churchy organ haunts below the guitar's tasteful melody line. "Dogmatic" is moody and thoughtful, with a bit of surf coolness riding above the optimistic scene. A fine melody and song with an unusual sound.

Lullaby Of the Leaves dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a brass reinvention of the Ventures' arrangement, with thunder thump kick in the left ear and dry twang in the right. While it doesn't fall far from the tree, it has it's own character and style. An inspired cover.

func_surf entity dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Oddly cool percussion echoes across the landscape before the most bizarre transition straddles the line between ice and liquid flow. The guitar melody is excellent, and with all the otherworldly intrusions, "func_surf entity" is at once very cool and very difficult.

Rocket Science dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Active panning presents effects and scenery in motion as "Rocket Science" slowly comes to life. The drums are great, and the uncomfortable eerie sounds provide a truly strange and magnetic soundscape. This is surf for prescription drugs and galloping cactus tours of coastal dunes. A very unusual construction.

Being And Nothingness dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Being And Nothingness" is a playful tropical thing with a nice little melody. Not exactly sad, but aquatically moody and of a carnival ethic. Quite nice!

Pempslider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hard edged grinding Mexican stomp! "Tijuana Mary Y Juana" is a powerful and infectious track, with great horns, grunting guitar, and a great rhythm. Dramatic, edgy, and loud.

Fox Sharp, Badger Minor dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Aquanaut" rips right off with a dramatic opening, then proceeds to drive hard with great drums and a fine melody line. The rhythm guitar employs vibrato to add shimmer to the mix. Both guitars, the bass, and the drums are well played on this fine song. Adventurous and very surfy.

Don't Eat Aluminium dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Halibuts' "Chummin'" is done quite differently than the flatfish boys' original. Thrashy rhythm guitar and a bumpier chunkier approach give it a more edgy sound.

Dogs Are From Pluto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Quisp" is an original Aquanauts song with a classic riff and whammy chords for extra surfability. Catchy and infectious, with a great reverb rhythm.

Forget About Freeman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chunky and thickly whammy chorded, "Batman" rocks just like the heavy thunder captured all those years ago by Al and Richie Schmidt at RCA Hollywood. This is the Lee Hazelwood song the Astronauts recorded, not the Neil Hefty TV theme.