Teeth Mountain: Teeth Mountain
You've heard this one before: A group of young (and more than likely college-educated) white people get together, pile instruments in a heap, and share a one-track mind to home, sweet, Om. Teeth Mountain's mixed-bag lineup doesn't re-invent the drum circle, but its members--listed as Andrew Burt, Andrew Bernstein, Greg Fox, Greg St. Pierre, Max Eisenberg, Max Eilbacher, Kate Levitt, Grace Bedwell, and Owen Gardner here, not all of whom played on the recording--do it with a sincere appreciation for the woollier end of late-'60s radicalism. Think long-robed cults coming for your children or, better yet, of the original incarnation of Amon Duul, the German commune qua free-drone ensemble that spit out five glorious percussion-heavy records before some members split off and formed Amon Duul II, a much more commercially successful group that kowtowed to the man by having, you know, actual songs.
Right now Teeth Mountain hasn't drunk such careerist Kool-Aid yet, and this LP bristles with the meandering abandon of fretful discovery. Over two sides--four songs that wind together for roughly 13 minutes on side one, five songs for roughly 15 and a half minutes on the flip--Teeth Mountain navigates a rhythmic journey through steady-pounding floor toms, space-travel cello drones, and some cosmic-dust dashes of guitars or woodwinds or noisemakers or some other hand-powered sound source. "Black Jerusalem" and "Keinsein" vibrate with reeds ghosts and goblins floating through the background, while "Soft Beast" sounds inspired from any moment off that levitating Velvet Underground bootleg 1966, the one that's nothing but two side-long instrumental slabs that sound like the perfect soundtrack to Gerard Malanga dance-whipping the air into submission.
Such doing it because it feels good right now vibe may be what makes Teeth Mountain such a woozy intoxicant. This is the sort of music that makes people reach for words such as "tribal," "primitive," and whatever so-called "exotic" world music is in fashion that hour, but Teeth Mountain couldn't be more urban and Western if it was making hip-hop. Amorphous, wordless instrumental stew is the basic stock for group disquietude. And while the Baltimore zeitgeist right now may have no formally organized Ausser-Parlamentarische Opposition arm just yet--or an Uschi Obermaier for that matter--something about Teeth Mountain's out-of-body aspirations reek of shared disillusionment, and once the many brains camping out on this mountain begin to see where they want to take their mettle, once they decide to trade the skinny jeans for the leather jacket and start designing guerrilla insignias, watch out.
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