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Is All Over the Map


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Audio CD, September 14, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Their most focused work to date. Ringleader Howe Gelb leads a new cast of Sandmen through the proverbial song desert. From the somber "Classico" to the rocking "Flying Around The Sun..." to the desert sand sound of "Les Forcats Innocents", there's simply no denying the force of a Giant Sand recording.

1. Classico
2. NYC of Time
3. Remote
4. Flying Around the Sun with Remarkable Speed
5. Cracklin' Water
6. Rag
7. Muss
8. Drag
9. Fool
10. Les Forcats Innocents
11. Napoli
12. Hood (View From A Heidelburg Hotel)
13. Classo Reprise, A
14. Anarchistic Bolshevistic Cowboy Bundle
15. Ploy

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 14, 2004)
  • Original Release Date: 2004
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B0002HV67C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,208 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David M. Madden on November 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Some music resonates inside you the instant you hear it. It's the lovely, honest stuff that becomes a part of you at some crucial point in your life -- after a breakup or during a rite of passage -- and never leaves that little compartment that it forged in your soul. Or maybe the music hits you at the right time of day, breathing alongside whatever sunset, toe-pointing kiss or first cup of organic espresso makes you most receptive. And then you have music that fills your whole being with these feelings, even if you're sitting in your miserable cubicle for nine hours a day.

Howe Gelb's work does that.

In case you're unfamiliar with Gelb's work as Giant Sand (featuring previous collaborations with Neko Case, Victoria Williams, members of Grandaddy, Joey Burns and John Convertino, who went on to form Calexico), he has enjoyed a twenty year, twenty-seven release career, touring with everyone from the Cramps to PJ Harvey. Is All Over...the Map features a supergroup made up of legends such as John Parish on drums, mellotron and producing duties, newish guy Anders Pedersen on lap steel, guitar and "electric slide mandolin", and guest vocals by the likes of Vic Chesnutt. The ensemble creates a rich texture of elegant trash, conjuring images of tumbleweeds and ghost towns whose thousand stories are just waiting to be told -- that's Gelb's Tucson roots and home studio showing through. Drums clack and thump into vintage mics (enough to make Steve Albini blush); Gelb's 1888 piano shakes and creaks under the master's gentle hand (eerily sounding Henry Cowellesque on "Drab"); frets and strings buzz, and howling tube amp feedback rattles the studio windows like a passing ghost train.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gonzobrarian on January 12, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Previously I've felt unsure how to approach the various albums by Giant Sand. From what I've read, the harshest critique I can think of the band is that from record to record, the music is uneven, ranging from astonishingly good to just so-so and over-reaching. That's true for any band, and like Gelb sings in the song `Muss': paradise don't come without mistakes. My experience from the sandmen's `Chore of Enchantment' to `Is All Over the Map' has been nothing short of epic, or should I say.... Classico. To me, the progression of this record from `Chore' is no less solid, yet the pace of many of the songs is welcoming. `Chore' dealt with the dirtiness of the "ever-present", especially the pain associated with the loss of the band's co-founder, Rainer Ptacek. This album is the aftermath, the rising sun simmering in a clear sky. For the most part, this album is louder, faster, yet no less a catch. Album to album, Howe Gelb always seems to know how to infuse just the right amount of cool, humor, and emotion in combination with a talented group of contributors. That combination comes through in the music as a sound unclassifiable, simply because of all the styles mixed within. It's not just country, southwestern, nor is it jazz, internationally tinted (French and Latin/Caribbean), nor is it funk. I think this album epitomizes rock & roll because it destroys all boundaries. Whatever the genre, it's always an ongoing experiment, and it's clear that the Sandmen have fun defining it. It truly is all over the map. Rather than a hazy evening, to me the feel of this album is as a sunrise, promising the simmer of summer, which as the Sandmen would say, has a similar hold on me. Great album.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Swinney on August 14, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The answer to my little review's title rhetoricals are with Giant Sand's album, "Is All Over the Map," Howe Gelb's sand can be pretty big when he wants it to be. And as for sand on your map? Well, I suppose that all depends on what type of material your map is made from? If its one of the wacky survival maps made of untearable material and designed to be submerged in water, I'd say the chances are pretty good Giant Sand particles would brush right off. However, if you have one of those new-fangled two-sided tape laminated maps that are coming out right now in REI's across the country I'd say if you are doing a beach hiking excursion you are pretty much stuck -- stuck with sand stuck to your map. But that just may be me.

So right about now, if you are still reading this, you may be asking yourself, "Self, What in name of the holy tar of God's Green hills does this review have to do with the price of coffee beans in a Beijing Starbuck's?" Well, I'd respond to you by saying, that's certainly an odd question to be asking of an Amazon reviewer writing about Howe Gelbe's Giant Sand's 2004 offering "Is All Over the Map," but hey, whatever freaks your peak my friend, whatever freaks your peak.

So I'm heading to this Giant Sand - Neko Case concert next month and thought I'd need to do some research. Since I'm intimately familiar with Case's work (and I love those red locks of hers and that Patsy Cline vocal style Fox Confessor Brings the Flood), Giant Sand, I'd never heard of. So my research started right here on Amazon's lovely on-line shopping extravaganza of a website with Giant Sand Is freakin' really all over the map, the research results you very well may ask?
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