Canadian rocker Nash the Slash is one of the more eclectic musicians around. His music is rock with a heavy electronic slant. His instruments of choice are the electric mandolin and electric violin, both of which he wields with such masterful skill that many listeners firmly believe he’s playing guitar. He wraps himself in gauze on-stage, guarding his identity from master villains. His music generally exhibits a distinctly devout fascination for the dark side.
This time, however, Nash has dragged his gear out into the daylight and dipped way back into ancient history for a selection of classic tunes that he feels modern generations cannot live without.
NASH THE SLASH: In-A-Gadda-Da-Nash (CD on Cut-Throat Productions)
This CD from 2008 offers 45 minutes of deviant power rock music.
Nash plays electric violins, electric mandolins, synthesizers, drum machines, assorted noises, and vocals.
Be forewarned: this album features cover tunes chosen from 1967 to 1981. Be further cautioned: these versions may cause severe psychological damage to listeners who are not prepared for wildly exciting deviations.
Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine.” epitomizes the psychedelic rock era, and Nash does the composition savage justice. Wailing strings establish searing riffs that skirt the interstellar realm, while spacey electronics perfectly capture a cosmic disposition. Haunting vocals resound from the other side of a dimensional barrier, communicating an obsession with mankind’s urge to explore the unknown.
King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.” A prime example of Nash’s mandolin serving up blazing fury with emphatic puissance. Demonstrative vocals resound with an artificial edge. Edgy electronics and crisp e-perc establish an elevating instrumental passage.
Scorpions’ “Animal Magnetism.” Metallic beats and guttural chords provide a gritty foundation for vocals that wail from a submerged vantage.
Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Shrill mandolin punctuates a stately vocal presentation supported by folksy strumming. Electronics produce a threatening hurricane that the searing mandolin riffs strive to ward off.
The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” Classic cyclic riffs are embellished with bass notes, as Nash’s rich vocals achieve a commanding presence. Mandolin and electronics handle the central melody with increasing intensity. Drifting violin slides into a frenzied delivery of enthusiasm.
Killing Joke’s “Follow the Leaders.” Husky riffs and pounding percussion generate a steadfast tension accompanied by hoarsely anthem vocals. Pulsing keyboards contribute a throbbing undercurrent. A crashing euphony is achieved.
Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” Things switch to a dreamily psychedelic demeanor with this song, but the somnambulance is seasoned with an ominous darkness. Keyboard sweeps carry portentous weight. Growling mandolin rises amid the mix to produce a lavish intensity of fierce proportion. The signature drum solo is supported by eerie electronics which harbor a touch of hostility, eventually adopting a lilting stretch before the gripping finale.
The Residents’ “Constantinople.” Sparse structure marks this quirky tune with isolated riffs, strident rhythms, and vocals that evolve into a multitracked myriad of voices. Things escalate with shuddering electronics.
While retaining the period charm of these classic tunes, Nash infuses his own style on each piece, subjecting the melodies to delightfully foreboding airs.
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