Named after that age-old line of bulky record players you used to get your groove on with at the school library back in the day, Califone has been helping Americana convert itself from analog to digitNamed after that age-old line of bulky record players you used to get your groove on with at the school library back in the day, Califone has been helping Americana convert itself from analog to digital for the better part of the last 10 years. Sprung from the rib of Red Red Meat, the group has been a most crucial faction in the 21st century fusion of folk, rock and electronic sounds, inadvertently creating a whole cottage industry for that kinda thing going into 2006.
After wallowing in obscurity on the tiny Perishable label, the group's epic 2001 debut LP, "Roomsound," is once again available to the public courtesy of Thrill Jockey. There are no bonus tracks or additional cookies that usually go along with reissues these days. All you get is the original 10 tracks, showcasing the organic brilliance of their early years, back when indie rock uber-producer Brian Deck was still in the fold. The songs resemble something vaguely close Son Volt had Jay Farrar been listening to more "Music for Films"-era Brian Eno and Boards Of Canada, especially on "Fisherman's Wife" and "Wade in the Water," not to mention the epic, eight-minute closer "New Black Tooth."
Perennial members Tim Rutili and Ben Massarella have gone on to employ more electronic atmosphere and Beefheart-ian Dadaism into the band sound. But "Roomsound" is just as rewarding as its successors, as it prominently displays the bridge between what these gentlemen were doing with Red Red Meat and what they had planned as Califone: looking into the past to create futuristic sounds. -- Ron Hart