"It's the early 1990s, Smalltown USA. You're a 15-year-old kid whose knowledge of underground rock music doesn't extend much beyond bands represented in Kurt Cobain's t-shirt collection. You know about Sub Pop because they put out that first Nirvana album, and may have heard some mention about some sort of "Sonic Youth", but otherwise, you're pretty clueless. As you flip through the Nirvana section of this mysterious indie record store, hoping to find some new album or single that slipped beneath MTV's radar, you stumble upon this EP, packaged in a minimal cardboard slipcover, amidst all the frat boys' recently returned copies of "Nevermind".
"Post-Graduate Seminars: Eye Surgery - Concepts and Problems" "Extra-Capsular Extraction".
Flip it over, and there's that vaguely familiar Sub Pop logo, a list of surgical equipment, and mug-shot photos of guys that look like they'd be much more comfortable working at the Exxon station than a hospital. Then, below "The Panel", in small boldface type: "With Specialists: KELLY CANARY & KURT KOBAIN".
Supposing you're me, perhaps you're thinking:
a) What the fsck is this? b) Why does every Nirvana record spell Kurt's name differently? c) What the fsck is this?
Overcome with confusion and some slight pangs of excitement, I shelled out the $6, rushed home, and... received no answers on a) and c). Everyone I played it for thought it was a particularly stupid joke. But I kept listening, always falling asleep about two minutes into the closing riff of "Ouroboros Is Broken" (the song ends with Dylan playing a three-note riff over and over for 15 minutes), trying to figure out what was so goddamn captivating about this slow, sleepy, but claustrophobically heavy band. Simple, Sabbath-influenced riffs slowly unfolding, swathed in a menacing amplifier growl, and with very sparse but precise drumming. All this captured with cold, numbing studio production rather in keeping with the surgical imagery. So undeniably "metal", but solar systems away from those Slayer and Metallica tapes I had as a kid...
This, my friends, is the beginning. Your story begins when you take this 30-minute voyage to wherever you're headed. I love who I have become and I have Earth to thank for it. Join me or die!"
Chinaski | waiting at the bar (thirsty) | 10/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Make no mistake, this is heavy. However, as I listen to it and stare out of my window, the world seems less imposing. The sky is grey and rain dapples the moss-coloured garden path but I feel imbued with a sense of optimism. Comfortable self-assurance, with no trace of arrogance. This is music to cleanse and protect the psyche, light shone upon the shadow cast by world-weary cynicism.
As I have mentioned in another review, I worship the ground traversed by the man Preston. When his creative powers are combined with that of Dylan Carlson, we can but thank the man upstairs for giving us these two lone musical visionnaries. Extra, while not as accessible as Pentastar, nor as downright superlative - drainingly amazing as '2', serves as yet another reminder of Earth's ability and scope. So lock the doors, close the windows and unplug the phone. Settle down with your recreational of choice. The insistant, hypnotic drone pulls you in, only for the planet-sized guitar work to engulf you. Not suffocating you, rather enveloping you in womb-like warmth. Your head begins to gently sway as you let go of any ill-feeling and tension.
Seriously people, this is my therapy, my escape and without wanting to sound melodramatic, my salvation via music. Never-the-less, I am probably preaching to the converted. Those who know, know. Those who don't probably never will. All I can say as I stare out the window, in thrall to the drone; today I'm ok."
An enjoyable listen...
J. Keeler | Cursed Midwest | 07/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like EARTH. I have for awhile now. This is an EP, and as such, it is pretty short. I haven't heard everything that they did in the past, but judging from what I know, this EP is like EARTH 2 junior. Not as monolithic and friggin' crazy as EARTH 2, but not as "poppy" as Pentastar. I enjoy Carlson's riffin. I guess that is all I have to say about it. If you enjoy the sonic stylings of EARTH, than why not buy this one too? I mean, come on. It is only 9 bucks or whatever. What the hell else would you do with that money? Spend it on fast food? Or maybe a couple packs of smokes? Buy the CD, and then take your Lim' Bizkut and Deftone CDs to the used store, sell them and then go buy your smokes. You are welcome."
Cult of sound
J. Holmes | yokohama, japan | 10/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"a good, but probably not essential entry in the Earth catalogue. nonetheless, a pretty great cd and a good chance to hear their beginnings. "Ouroboros Is Broken" is the standout cut here. a lumbering rumble of a good time."