I can’t say that I like the cover art, (for some reason it reminds me of the werewolf movie Dog Soldiers) especially in contrast to their first release “Zoroaster,” which has awesome cover art. However, what’s inside this disc is what really counts, especially Tualatin, a thirteen minute long masterpiece of variation, speed, sloth, and clarinet punctuated magnificence.
The song builds through three unique sections. The intro has a lower, more mellow tone, textured with rhythmic vocals. The middle section pushes forward with a hard guitar stomp and an interesting solo surrounded by sustained tones. The last 10 minutes are a slowed down version of the opening section, with the addition of drums and a rising, sustaining guitar solo; this section even has a wind instrument in it–I’m pretty sure it’s a clarinet.
Taking size and power out of the picture though, the most interesting thing about this one song “Tulatin”–the third track of Zoroaster’s second LP, Dog Magic–is the key role that bassist Brent Anderson plays in the song’s structure and composition. Incidentally, or maybe not, Anderson was banished from his last band, named Tualatin. Ha. Do I smell revenge, or some comment on the ex band? The lyrics are fairly repetitive, but from the opening phrase “fight for your life,” to the ending “Tualatin, destroyed from the inside” serve to show the bassist’s displeasure with the band. But I don’t get the impression that he’s hell bent on destroying his ex band’s name or using his departure to show off his bass virtuosics. Instead, his bass lines show their power in that he orchestrates the whole track. He manipulates the time and tempo, noodles with the song’s variations and plodding melodies. He doesn’t overshadow the other instruments. For example, the solo at about the 7:15 mark provides a wonderful gem for the song, which builds and builds for the entire latter third of the song.
Anderson doesn’t go overboard with complex finger picking or Burton-esque soloing. He provides the weird meandering rhythm for the song. He provides the backbone, skeleton, and muscle of the song. Listen to the bassline. It will give you a whole new pleasure for this track.