Album Review: Terror of Cosmic Loneliness by Gruff Rhys
Average, Based on 5 Critics
Pitchfork - 56 Based on rating 5.6/10
The wonderful thing about the Super Furry Animals is the way they make the most illogical ideas seem perfectly sensible. Experimentation in rock music often implies a certain degree of pretentiousness and studiousness, but since their formation 15 years ago, the Super Furries and their offshoots have embraced the anarchic joy in pushing the structural and conceptual parameters of their psychedelic pop songs. So when band leader Gruff Rhys announced that his next extracurricular release would be an album recorded with Brazilian VCR repairman/peace activist Tony Da Gatorra, using his namesake homemade synthesizer/drum-machine contraption, the immediate response wasn't so much "WTF?" as "but of course.
This year’s unlikely Gruff Rhys side-project sees the Furries frontman teaming up with Brazilian TV repairman and musical innovator Tony Da Gatorra, working on a set of psychedelic-leaning avant-garde jams. I say musical innovator: Gatorra is the creator of a hybrid guitar-cum-drum-machine instrument; yet to take the musical world by storm, but innovative none the less. Of course, Rhys’ last venture outside of the Super Furry Animals saw him collaborate with Ohio producer Boom Bip under the name Neon Neon, earning the pair a good deal of critical acclaim and a nomination for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.
Gruff Rhys has managed to continually imbue all his work with a renegade spirit, from the early days of taking tanks to festivals, through days hanging out with Howard Marks and right up to his partnership with Boom Bip in Neon Neon, extolling the life story of John Delorean. So when it was announced that he’d recorded an album with an unknown Brazilian VCR repairman, nobody really batted an eyelid. The general consensus has always been that Gruff has enough of a gift with melody, as displayed on his Welsh language albums with Super Furry Animals and his other solo projects, which could be enjoyed without understanding the sentiments therein, that any of his musical projects can be more than enjoyable while still taking risks.
And the award for strangest album of 2010 so far goes to... Tony Da Gatorra and Gruff Rhys. Long a proponent of experimentation in his pop music, both with Super Furry Animals and in his solo work, Rhys has outdone himself this time, digging up an unknown Brazilian protest singer/instrumentalist, who invented his own instrument, the "gatorra," a combination of bizarre guitar and drum machine.
Expect to come away from The Terror of Cosmic Loneliness nursing a very sore head indeed. Alex Denney 2010 It’s weird what industrial quantities of drugs will do for a man, depending on where and when he’s doing the imbibing. On the one hand, Gruff Rhys’ collaboration with Brazilian VCR repairman and peacenik Tony Da Gatorra works as a casually improvised celebration of the unifying power of drugs and rampant eccentricity.