Pink Mountain: Hodgepodge Collective With a Darwinist Twist

A rogues gallery of facile musicians, Pink Mountain is avant-garde music’s answer to the Justice League of America. Formed in 2006, the group includes Sam Coomes (Quasi), Kyle Bruckmann (Lozenge), Gino Robair (Splatter Trio), Scott Rosenberg (P.A.F.), and John Shiurba (Eskimo). Rosenberg, who plays various reed instruments, culled the other members to write and record their self-titled full-length off the cuff.

“I took my four favorite musicians and pulled them into the same room,” Rosenberg says. Robair, the drummer, adds, “None of us knew what it was going to be. There’s no way we could’ve conceived it; it had to happen spontaneously. It could have easily been a disaster given the people and the personalities.”

The resultant debut album is the mutant progeny of Ornette Coleman, John Zorn, Faust, and Ruins. It’s a sprawling twelve-song marriage of psych, prog, krautrock and freeform jazz that is fueled by a synergistic array of influences. “There is this crazy, messy overlap,” says Bruckmann, who provides analog synths for the group. “But we come from subtly different generations in terms of musical obsessions and things that blew our minds at impressionable ages. While making that record, we’d listen to a track and Gino would say, ‘That reminds me of King Crimson,’ and Sam would say, ‘I was thinking Sabbath.’ I’d say, ‘It sounded like the Butthole Surfers to me.’”

The group is currently working on a new album that promises to be a darker, more epic effort than the first. “There’s this strange grandeur to it that I’m really excited about,” says Bruckmann. “Some of the songs are definitely longer and it’s more prog if anything.” Rosenberg explains, “The last album was more improvised; there is more editing with this one. Kyle went to town on the improvs and made larger structures out of them, as opposed to the last record where the structures were all generated spontaneously.”

Keyboardist/vocalist Coomes adds that the members’ individual influences are coming to the fore during tracking sessions, but Rosenberg is quick to dismiss the notion that members subconsciously bring elements from their other bands into the fold. “The number one way to get an idea vetoed is to bring something that sounds like one of your other bands,” Rosenberg laughs. “The weaklings are killed. Only the strong survive.”

-Frank Parisi

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