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Transmissionary Six - Get Down

  by John Clarkson

published: 24 / 1 / 2005



Transmissionary Six - Get Down
Label: Film Guerrero
Format: CD

intro

Brooding third album from the Transmissionary Six, the increasingly lush-sounding project of ex-Willard Grant Conspiracy guitarist Paul Austin and Walkabouts' drummer Terri Moeller


Part of the undoubted charm of the Transmissionary Six in the past has been their sense of mystery. That still features a lot on their third album 'Get Down', alongside also the brooding guitar lines of ex-Willard Grant Conspiracy guitarist Paul Austin and Walkabouts' drummer Terri Moeller's eerie percussion and dreamy, drawled vocals, each of which has made the Transmissionary Six such a vital option previously. In other ways though 'Get Down', however, represents a change of direction. While their first album, the self-titled 'Transmissionary Six' , which came out in 2002, featured just the husband and wife team of Austin and Moeller, their second album, 2003's 'Spooked' found the Seattle "collective" augmented to include an additional four players. 'Get Down' finds the 'Get Down Transmissionists', as Austin and Moeller have christened the supplementary musicians on this recording, expanded to nine, and including the Walkabouts' Anne Marie Ruljancich on viola ; the album's producers John Askew, Tucker Martine and Scott Colburn on piano, tambourine and organ respectively and local hired hand Derek Trost on vibes. The number would have been even greater still, expect as a cheeky sleevenote on the album's cover says pedal steel player Kevin Suggs, who played on 'Spooked', and additional guitarist Maz Morsink were both "out of town at the time." The stark acoustics of much of the two previous recordings have gone, and, while the Transmissionary Six's music remains ethereal and melancholic, they have been replaced by a fuller and lusher sound. The Transmissionary Six have always revelled before in abstract lyrics and poetic collages of words. Although this has annoyed some critics, fans have had a lot of fun trying to unscramble exactly what if anything Austin and Moeller mean. Songs on 'Get Down' such as 'Blacktinrocket', 'Flake' and 'Packakools' remain obtuse, but others for the first time have a structured narrative. The shimmery 'My New Name' captures the tragi-comic plight of a police informant who struggles to remember her new assumed identity. The protagonists on the rustic, sinister 'Holiday Park' believe that they have a found a temporary salvation from the horrors of the city, but "wrapped in police tape" and "steely and rusted" it proves simply to be another form of Hell. The lightest track on the album, the breezy and poppy 'Happy Landings', meanwhile finds Moeller in awe with love and in a rare state of bliss ("I can feel my arms/I can feel my legs sinking like a stone into a state of grace"). Whether 'Get Down' is the the beginning of a real change for the Transmissionary Six and a permanent move towards the sumptious, and whether too they have found a happy balance between the angular and the more straightforward or will move further still towards the linear, remains to be seen. In the meantime though, both thought-provoking and compulsive, 'Get Down' is a very good place to be.



Track Listing:-
1 Blacktinrocket
2 Flake
3 Mynewname
4 Downforthecount
5 Johnny&Waldo
6 Holidaypark
7 Happylandings
8 Novanna
9 Element
10 Packakools
11 Thedimmestporch
12 Powderburn



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interviews


Interview with Paul Austin and Terri Moeller (2003)
Transmissionary Six - Interview with Paul Austin and Terri Moeller
The project of Walkabouts' drummer Terri Moeller and former Willard Grant Conspiracy guitarist Paul Austin, Transmissionary Six are about to release a second album, 'Spooked'.John Clarkson speaks to them about it and their forthcoming first European tour
Interview with Paul Austin (2002)


digital downloads




reviews


Cosmonautical (2008)
Uplifting and epic-sounding chamber pop on fifth album from previously melancholic Seattle-based band the Transmissionary Six, which is their most accessible album to date
Radar (2006)
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Transmissionary Six (2002)


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