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Mandible Chatter


Photo: David Agasi



Mandible Chatter was formed in the autumn of 1991 by San Francisco Bay area guitarists Neville Harson and Grant Miller. Grant knew immediately that there was something fatalistic about their meeting when Neville idly remarked that he had moved from Pennsylvania to be closer to The Residents. Both musicians had roots in experimental music and their earliest efforts as a newly formed duo took shape as improvised ambient electric guitar pieces not entirely unlike the works of Fripp & Eno. In retrospect, as strangers to one another they were clearly playing it safe. Over the course of their first year, however, their guard slowly came down and the two began incorporating harsher textures into their music. Sometime in the spring of 1992, when, as chance would have it, one of the members actually found himself living directly across the street from Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, the guys decided there was no choice but to open wide the windows and "serenade" their newfound neighbor. No one is certain whether this performance was actually received by the late Mr. LaVey (or if it might have somehow contributed to his death), but the affair was recorded for posterity and saw light of day as Mandible Chatter's first release, a cassette suitably titled "Serenade for Anton...."


 ...In 1994, the group released its second CD, Hair Hair Lock & Lore, their dark ambient statement, which in turn caught the attention of Manifold Records in Memphis. Mandible Chatter's first disc for Manifold, Grace, marked a high point for the group. They had found label support at last and their garage endeavors were reaching their peak. Having taken a shine toward a more uplifting sound overall, the band was now producing its most realized material. The guitars had returned and into the mix came cello, vocal drones, and piano, to name but a few. Amorphic ambience was being slowly infused with more thoughtful structure. This merging of ambient-industrial textures with more traditional styles caught the interest of radio and press folk alike, not to mention their fans....


 ...In twelve years, Mandible Chatter has covered more musical territory than most enduring groups cover in a lifetime. If there were a single attribute that all Mandible Chatter releases could be said to have in common, it would be the ability to surprise the listener. Textures, even genres, are often blended, exploiting contrasts to their fullest, yet always retaining the cohesive thread. Much like navigating Hampton Court's maze by night, with Mandible Chatter one can never be quite sure what lies around the corner... -from

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