Chainsaw Rainbow- Photorealistic

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chainsaw Rainbow’s 747 EP saw Dominic Massaro transform the psychedelic rock and shoegaze of his other project Jetdog into drone compositions with less of an emphasis on structure. It was an approach that worked thanks to shimmering psychedelic textures and high levels of noise, but there were a few songs where it sounded as though they were still a little too close to Jetdog and room remained for Massaro’s solo work to further branch off onto its own path. A few months after 747 another EP surfaced on Chainsaw Rainbow’s Bandcamp, titled Photorealistic, and it helps the project to take that next step towards a style all its own.

The tonality and effects that Massaro uses throughout Photorealistic are similar to his previous recordings, but what has changed is the amount of time that each note is stretched out for. Whereas some of the previous material still had some traditional structural elements, here every element drones on in a more free-form nature, creating a natural ebb and flow that stretches out over the entirety of each song. The noise level seems to have been kept at its highest level this time around, with the droning building towards abrasive yet inviting levels that recall bands like Sonic Youth during their most experimental periods. With the emphasis on a stream of consciousness style of delivery where layers come and go without warning and new ideas are subtly implemented, Photorealistic is likely to be a bit more impenetrable on those first few listens and it may take a few times through to take everything in. But those with a taste for drone or psychedelic music they can lose themselves in will find that when this one clicks, it’s a great piece to lose yourself in for a short span of time. My favorite track is “Sparkler” which is one of the most unpredictable moments on the entire release, as it starts with a soft droning melody and then without warning unleashes a dense wall of feedback that completely transforms the mood.

747 may have had some sections that felt like they could have fit just as well in Jetdog, but Photorealistic finds Dominic Massaro fully exploring expansive psychedelic drone and distinguishing his solo work from his other projects. This particular type of spaced out, noisier drone that can feel like a stream of consciousness bursting out of your speakers is likely to be an acquired taste, but anyone with a taste for psychedelic music or drone will feel right at home here and find plenty worth exploring. Considering the short gap between releases it’s impressive that Chainsaw Rainbow has already evolved quite a bit, particularly with the multi-faceted mellow into harsh transition of “Sparkler”, and seems likely that by the time the next recording is ready Massaro may have already pushed onward into completely different territory.

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