I totally respect the power of music, and how when it’s made with honesty and untainted conviction, it can truly become timeless. There is a very special band from the mid 80’s named Spahn Ranch, and they put out one record, Thickly Settled, which was released on Insight Records in 1986/87. This album has sonic healing powers that will amaze you from the very first note. The singer’s voice is enchanting and haunting all in the same breath. The guitar work that you will hear on Thickly Settled is so majestic and moving, that the guitar tones will have your nightmares dancing with your dreams. Spahn Ranch were good at creating tension in their tunes that would play off of the tranquil audio tapestry of darkness the wove. I must say that this band also had some really driving songs on this album, and the tribal feeling to their drumming always has me transfixed! What I have heard is that this was the first time that anyone in this band had ever played instruments, which I think made them have an open mind in the way they created sound. When you hear “Dissipation,” you will feel as if grey walls are surround you, but above your head are be sunrays from your past, and the fragile voice of the singer is your friend. From the very first twinkle of “Wonder and Perish,” your life will never be the same. It’s all of the languages that are spoken by the instruments that always have me saying Spahn Ranch are super radical. Do yourself a favor and blast their tune “Crutch” loud – the dissonant energy in this song will make you realize that this band is an American treasure. I’m a firm believer that music can bring people together, no matter what subculture you might call home, and Spahn Ranch is the kind of band that can do just that, unify! Let also be known that 20 years before there was ever a Godspeed You! Black Emperor, there was Spahn Ranch. Do whatever you must do to find this record…Don’t worry too much, though, because our comrades over at Dais Records have released Back to the Wood, a collection of the band’s rarities!
Spahn Ranch “Back to the Wood” LP
“Back to the Wood” is a collection of previously unreleased studio recordings, cassette rarities and select tracks from the long out of print “Thickly Settled” LP, all remastered and supervised by Odell Nails and Brad Horowitz with exclusive liner notes from now rock music journalist Hobey Echlin, along with rare photos and other ephemera, released digitally and in a limited edition of 100 copies on yellow vinyl and 400 standard black vinyl.
Out now on Dais Records!