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Gastr Del Sol

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Gastr del Sol (derived from Greco-Roman meaning “Stomach of the Sun”) is an oft-cited stalwart of the movement of the 1990s. Based in Chicago, Gastr del Sol explored idiosyncratic sonic textures, veering from to atonal songcraft to Musique concrète to composition for small orchestra.

The group began as the brain-child of David Grubbs, an alumnus of the Louisville, KY punk rock scene that produced Squirrel Bait and Slint, the former of which he was a member. (Grubbs has been often mistaken as a member of Slint, and while he had many formal connections with the group, he was never an official member) A few years after Grubbs’s arrival in Chicago, his esoteric punk group Bastro metamorphosed into Gastr del Sol.

With the release of 1993’s The Serpentine Similar, Grubbs and his former Bastro colleagues Bundy K. Brown (bass) and John McEntire (drums) traded the more traditional arrangements of for a literate, meandering yet often poignant approach. The slippery tones of Brown’s bass provided a counterpoint to Grubbs’s clean electric guitar and naked piano. The appearance of drums was rare but satisfying.

In the following year, the guitarist, composer and all-around production guru Jim O’Rourke entered the fray and Brown (who at the time was busy enough with his other projects, including—with McEntire—the seminal post-rock act Tortoise) left the band.

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