Gauge was a Chicago band that played an oddly progressive form of
punk-rock and released two albums,
Soothe (1992) and
Fire Tongue Burning Stomach (1994).
Gauge drummer Ryan Rapsys then formed Heroic Doses
with 5ive Style's Bill Dolan and played in Tim Kinsella's
Joan Of Arc.
Euphone was born as Ryan Rapsys' solo project with a few singles on Hefty and
the album Euphone (Hefty, 1996), a collection of moody instrumentals
entirely arranged and played by Rapsys himself.
His fluid jazz-accented progressive-rock with a touch of
Tortoise's post-rock excels at
softly noir and often hypnotic lounge tempos
The seven-song EP Breaking Parole (Hefty, 1998) seem to reveal
Rapsys' true intentions: not avantgarde instrumental rock but merely
easy listening for intellectuals. Funk propulsion erupts from
I Did Not Say Maybe Not and Little Warbles, but Euphone's
specialty remains the laid-back ambient/lounge vibes of
New Dusk Policy.
Rapsys also played in Slicker's
Confidence In Duber (Hefty, 1998).
Adding Heroic Doses bassist Nick Macri, Rapsys recorded
The Calendar of Unlucky Days (Jade Tree, 1999),
an album deeply imbued with
jazz and reggae, a collection of improvised, instrumental jams that mix
electronics, acoustic instruments and syncopated beats and run the gamut from
free-jazz (Broken Gourd) to dub (Needle and Crate), from
Kraftwerk's futurism (Cindy You Hate To Eat) to
Brian Eno's impressionism (Wickedness).
The tentative experiments of the previous albums laid the foundations for
Hashin' It Out (Jade Tree, 2001), an eclectic work that makes the most
of Lonesome Organist's guitarist Jeremy Jacobsen.
Press On and Bad Ascending prove that Rapsys and Macri would
be a superb rhythm section to a creative guitarist.
Without his guitar leads, the duo is still looking for a reason to exist.
The dreamy, trip-hoppish opener Gyrations and Nick is Ryan
are intriguing, but most of the album still sinks in the swamps of what
is essentially muzak for intellectuals.
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