"IL BACIO (THE KISS)"
Deerfield, Massachusetts, 1999
By Byron Coley
In its best forms, psychedelic music is beyond the reach of the programmer. Artists as different as Saccharine Trust,
Groep 1850, Magical Power Mako, and the Melvins have managed to reach other planes of psychedelic thereness
by what are apparently contradictory routes. But that assessment is bogus, since true psychedelic heft is achieved through
internal rather than external routage. The toeholds and rope bridges of the path can be neither mapped or even easily remembered.
They're just sorta "known." It seems clear from Il Baccio( The Kiss), the fourth album by Grandpa's Ghost,
that this group "knows" the "way."
Grandpa's Ghosts sound encompasses more of the formal aspects of "inside" structuralism (and brute force) than most
post-strumble peeps, but theirs is also a sonic wave that is expanding from its center in a multitude of beautifully lazy
ways. By the time that the band has hauled the listener along to where it is they're going, the whole landscape is layered
in style bandages as thick as any ancient Egyptian ass.
Certain sequences of the bands passage may remind me (or you) of second album moves by the Meat Puppets, or Kris
Kringle, or Pink Floyd, but the exquisite excess of their root-sound is unique and unparalleled. Dunno what the
fuck it is, exactly. But what the hell? Grandpa's Ghost makes recombinant aesthetics wiggle with the kind of dark purity
that intimates a lot of action on the subconscious (rather than marketing) level. Thats where true psychedelia lives. And
Grandpa's Ghost make it sound very jake.
If you cant dig that, well fuck-a-doodle-doo. And yeah, it does suck that The Kiss isn't on LP, but I assume we'll
all get over it.
THE WIRE, December 2000
In Brief Avant Rock
By Tom Ridge
When Neil Young took Sonic Youth on tour with Crazy Horse early in the 1990s, far from broadening
audience tastes, SY were met with indifference or hostility. What hope then for Grandpa's Ghost, an Illinois group
operating without a safety net, whose willfully drawn-out experimentation co-exists with the distorted guitars and lonesome
whine of psychedelicized Country rock? Theres something here to offend rockers and cultists alike - too way out for the former,
too trad for the latter. Actually its a pretty brave album, allowing for a good 20 minutes of deeply fried material before
the first actual song.
D.I.W., INDEPENDENT THOUGHT ON INDEPENDENT MUSIC, Fall 2000
Grandpa's Ghost: Il Bacio
By Donovan Pierce
If you are unfamiliar with previous albums by Grandpa's Ghost, you might initially interpret Il Bacio as
a cheerless mixture of droning soundscapes and psyched-out Americana on morphine. A more focused listen reveals that they
are taking you somewhere. Recorded sounds, discordant guitar slashes and loping drum rolls create tension while deft changes
bring release. Fuzzed electric bass and vocals break in from out of nowhere to add strong dynamics to the score. The drones
are challenging at times, but Grandpa's Ghost manages to indulge you in their trip without indulging in themselves.
NOISY PAPER, February 2001
Kevin Renicks Top 5 Local CDs of 2000
By Kevin Renick
Tops! Grandpa's Ghost, Il Bacio: Before the era of Napster downloads, before MP3s and mixed-bag compilations,
hell, even before CDs, there was something called a "listening experience" that a great album might provide. If an artist
had done their job and made a great, unified album, you wanted to hear it from start to finish, as it was created. And the
work would provide a stimulating musical and emotional journey that would alter your perception of things, and stay in your
memory. It may not happen much anymore, but the boys of Pocahontas, Illinois, who call themselves Grandpa's Ghost made
just such an album in 2000. Musically diverse and conceptually dense, Il Bacio is an eye-opener. It ranges from the
surging, break-the-sonic-dam guitar rush of "Skin" to the urgent, subverted alt-country of "14 Minutes of Slow-Core Hiss"
to the dark, sinister somnambulism of the near-instrumental "A Kiss Is Not A Kiss When You Dont See It Coming." The heart
of this extraordinary album is probably "Choking On The Dust," a long song that begins with a lazy, existential bit of folksy
angst and metamorphoses into a mind-altering ambient piece. Il Bacio is a blissfully self-indulgent CD that repels
all commercial considerations and defines its own parameters from start to finish. Grandpa's Ghost took a huge artistic
leap; the result stands out in these parts as a monument to aesthetic panache. Not everyones cup of tea, but truly unforgettable
if youre willing to take the trip.
RELIX: MUSIC FOR THE MIND, Vol. 27 No. 6, December 2000
On The Edge: Review Of Artists You Should Know About
By Mick Skidmore
If youre into more spacey out-there music, there are a couple of bands of interest. According to its bio, Illinois Grandpa's
Ghost has released four albums, the most recent of which is Il Bacio (Upland). This quartets original sounds-psychedelia,
hypnotic blues meanderings, and dark and doomy space explorations-permeate the disc. Beginning with the esoteric, ambient
piece "The Kiss," the eleven cuts move into one another through shifting, spacey explorations not unlike the more adventurous
Grateful Dead "Space" segments, except that Grandpa's Ghost will suddenly slip into oddball songs or spoken
word. This is never more evident than in the breezy pop rock of "14 Minutes of Slow-Core Hiss," which ends with a minute of
cacophonous feedback, and slips into the melodic, shifting tones of the 20-minute "Choking On The Dust." While not an immediate
disc, Il Bacio does contain some interesting experimental music.
RIVERFRONT TIMES, December 27, 2000 - January 2, 2001
Best Of 2000
By Matt Harnish
Grandpa's Ghost, Il Bacio, (Upland). Grandpa's Ghost created the only regional rock release in recent memory
that could honestly be called a work of art. They find the beauty in chaos and in calm, in clamor and quiet. A masterpiece.
Kinetic Bonds and Primal Awareness
In the opening scenes of Stanley Kubricks' masterpiece , 2001 A Space Oddysey, a group of primates are on the
verge of an act of eternal social importance. After brutaly pounding a fellow tribesman with a newfound item of destruction,
the overwhelmed beast hurls his victorious weapon into the air, twirling and tumbling into future millenium. It is the sight
of this repetitive end over end motion of the tool of mans demise that enters my mind as I listen to the most recent release
of Pocahontas, Illinois unsung heroes Grandpa's Ghost. The record "Il Baccio" ,released in June of 2000, on Upland Records,
somehow seems to intersect with that scene in Kubricks film as if the twirling motion resonated like a perpetual motion machine
for thousands of years and then mysteriously locks in with the pulse of Il Baccio and then just as mysteriously is gone again.This
record is equally primitive and complicated, socially vocal and muted and sonicly silent and dense. Weighing in at over 75
minutes this epic transcends time and emotion. Conjuring up images of pre-natal to post-mortem in a seemingly seemless move
from the opening utterings of anxiety to the final anthemic thoughts of quiet cosmic contentment. Although not a record for
the faint of heart, Il Baccio is one beautiful brushstroke on the canvas of lifes reality.