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The guitar-drum 2-piece thing is nothing new. It has always appealed to virtuoso performers who want to try out having more space to work with while only having to focus on one other person. It can absolutely be magic, especially live, as you often get to see performances of this kind ‘in the round’, up close and tribal style. Richmond VA’s NAVI is one of these. Their take on the form really embraces the joy that such musical freedom of movement poses for the musicians. On their latest EP-length release ILLUMINAVI, speed and repetition are central, with some foot-operated power electronics thrown in to ramp up the energy a little more. Navi uses some of the metal-inspired innovations typical of Mick Barr projects such as Orthrelm. First and last tracks (‘Rainbow Pox’ and ‘L.A.S.E.R’) conform to that model. Second track ‘Steeb Pop’s Last Afro’ follows more of a 90’s mathy course with cycles of crescending reverb-heavy strumming asride an evolving beat pattern that veers in and out of frenzy. This and the third track ‘Unicorn Holocaust’ play in keys of happy, coming back to melodic lines often enough to stay light and fun. There are some slappy funk-elements and vocal injections on this latter track that are likely to get your head bobbin.

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