It was the last element added to Maserati’s latest album. The record was tracked and ready to go, but bassist Chris McNeal of the Athens, Georgia-based instrumental psych/post-rock band had one last idea.
“We went back to the studio for an hour,” guitarist Coley Dennis said. “Chris had this idea and I’m glad he did, because it makes the song.”
After more than 13 years as a band, what Maserati had was its very first sung part. It was heavily processed through a vocoder, and only a few lines long, but it was lyrical nonetheless.
“We always think about that kind of stuff,” Dennis said. “If you always do this or do that, then you are limiting yourself.”
The sung words appear roughly a third of the way through “Solar Exodus,” a seven-minute track off Maserati’s sleek, futuristic 2012 album, Maserati VII. The quartet, which also includes guitarist Matt Cherry and drummer Mike Albanese, plays Monday at Bottom of the Hill.
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The vocals, sung by McNeal, are not the only new developments for Maserati. VII, released last October, dives into a vast depth of electronic influence for the post-rock band.
For nearly their first decade of existence, Dennis and his bandmates were influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine; fuzz-drenched indie guitar rock.
“Now I’m 36 and have listened to a lot more stuff over the last 10 years,” Dennis said. “Your palette (gets) broadened. We wanted to evolve. We wanted to push in new directions.”
And of course, Maserati now features a new fulltime drummer in Albanese. The band was devastated in 2009, as were the indie rock and dance communities in Athens and New York, with the death of previous drummer Jerry Fuchs.
Fuchs, 34, who also played with Turing Machine, the Juan MacLean, !!!, MSTRKRFT and LCD Soundsystem, died when he tried to jump out of an elevator that was stalled between two floors and fell down the shaft.
Maserati briefly considered splitting up, but decided to unite around a partially completed album, for which Fuchs had recorded several parts. They took his recordings – splicing, looping and combining them with a drum machine – to complete 2010’s Pyramid of the Sun.
“It was pretty heavy deciding what we should do,” Dennis said. “Should we do it? Should we not do it? How could we do it? It was one of those records that shouldn’t have existed, but luckily we had enough stuff to make it happen.”
When it came time to pick a permanent replacement, Maserati immediately turned to Albanese, who was both a longtime friend of the band, and particularly Fuchs, as well as the late drummer’s mentee.
“We were writing all these demos on the drum machine and … he was the first person on our list we could think of to interpret some of that stuff live,” Dennis said.
Albanese applied what he learned from Fuchs and added his own touches to Maserati’s unrelenting and quick tempos fit for either an Atari or a sci-fi film. Dennis said it is the band’s goal to work on a film soundtrack, so long as the project fits Maserati’s music.
“We’d love to do the Blade Runner sequel,” he said. “Something sci-fi would be cool.”
Maserati, Minot, Silian Rail
Bottom of the Hill
March 4, 2013