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  • Take Refuge in Clean Living
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Take Refuge in Clean Living


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Audio CD, May 13, 2008
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 13, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Important Records
  • ASIN: B0017LFKWE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,411 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Stoned At the Taj Again
2. Ptsd
3. 11th Hour
4. Take Refuge
5. Clean Living

Editorial Reviews

"Grails' Middle European music exudes a dark occult mystery few are capable of achieving. Like some East German ensemble of the early '70s, their heathen Ur-klang combines acoustic guitars, banjos, and bouzoukis with drums and samples that summon up the Ancients." -- Julian Cope

The 2006-07 touring incarnation of Grails included good friend and drummer Ben Nugent, allowing Emil Amos to switch to third guitar for the band's live instrumentation. The DNA of this "guitar-dense" lineup allowed for new types of songs and bigger melodies. In early 2007, the then-five-piece entered Steven Lobdell's (Faust) Audible Alchemy to document the new songs written with this augmented sound, and the resultant sessions make up Take Refuge In Clean Living. (The group has since returned to the original four members). Opening with a nod to Syd Barret's Pink Floyd, the album begins with Morse Code before dropping into one of the heaviest slow-burn grooves in the Grails canon. Sounding something like Hawkwind and Ravi Shankar scoring Bladerunner, it's lysergic and earthy in a new way. The rest of the album moves from blissful Eno-inspired ambience and epic Morricone rock hymns to an unexpected take on a Ventures tune that returns the listener back to the very beginnings of instrumental rock music.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Insert Pen Name Here on June 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Grails are a welcome diversion in a post rock world which has worn out of originality relatively quickly over the last 5 years, and probably should not be classfied as post rock regardless, because grails have never written songs/soundscapes to a certain length or with a certain formula in mind.

After grails lost timothy horner, their violin player, in 2005, they went in a new direction, creating layered subtleties around free from jazz style drums, tape loop synth reverb, booming gigantic ominous bass lines, and eastern tinged ethereal guitar. All these forms mingling, converging, and dissapating in waves of tension, never crashing per se, just building high and subsiding, sometimes quickly, sometimes over the course of 4-5 minutes.

I have to admit that Black Tar Prophecies is my favorite series of grails recordings, but this 1/2 hour record is a welcome evolution in that sense of sound. While I wouldn't call Take Refuge in Clean Living a follow up, it has inklings of that record melded w/ a new direction, very loose and atmospheric.

Stoned at the Taj, a song I recently heard them play live (and very noisily) feels more like three song's melded together, clocking in around 8 minutes. It begins w/ some shimmering atmosphere and a simple yet undeniable bass tempo which locks you straight into step with the oddly twisting counterpoint of the acoustic tinges sprinkled on top of the mix, with loud aforeground bass drums capturing your attention. Almost to suddenly, these items fade out to be replaced by 5 minutes of what feels like free jazz improv and melds into the 2nd song "PTSD" almost without thought.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Orf on September 28, 2008
Format: Vinyl
I happened upon Grails looking over the vinyl catalog of Important Records. I bought the vinyl LP on a whim and am so very glad I did.

If you like to turn down the lights, close your eyes, and let the music carry you places, and aren't afraid to take a few scary turns here and there, check it out. The instrumentation is reverb-heavy guitars, wall-shaking bass, and drums that feel 5 stories tall. There is a fair amount of additional instrumentation - a hammered dulcimer, pipe organ, and some tape effects (the opening track starts out with some Morse code, the "is anybody out there" call of CQ practiced by ham radio operators) and other atmospheric touches infuse the grooves.

The music is somewhat minimalistic, typically starting out with a bare theme, adding instruments, growing to a climax and then cooling off and beginning the next track. The songs are almost all in minor keys, giving them an introspective, dark feel. If you are fan of the music of Steve Reich (such as Music for Eighteen Musicians), Supercollider, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, etc., and don't mind your music without the distraction of vocals and lyrics, you will likely love this album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marius Piedallu Van Wyk on October 5, 2010
Format: MP3 Music
Never before have I loved listening to a purely instrumental band like this. Normally I love good lyrics. This is a departure from my usual tastes. I love Alternative, Gothic, Folk, Americana and Indie. (Sometimes a bit of classical music as well) But this is now my second album from this band, and it is something I've just not grown tired of.

I've been listening to it on repeat for some time... not just as a distraction when working, but often for just pure listening pleasure.

Heady, deep, rich, detailed, full. Words I would use inadequately to describe their sound.

This album is a steal at this price. If you like it, my other favorite is "Burning off Impurities"

This is easily my favorite artist at the moment, and I don't usually like to think I have "a favorite".
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Erik Johnson on May 16, 2008
Format: MP3 Music
Take your imagination on a soul journay to a nether world where possibilty riegns and cosmic power dominates!

This new recording is epic and trancendental.

Leave it on repeat!

Best rock band anywhere!
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