PRESS

Robert Poss rings bells just like he's playing guitar. The chimes ring out during the opening piece on Settings, but you only have to wait for the second track for those bells to run into thrumming strings. His abiding love for electric guitar is no casual dalliance or detached Platonic infatuation; it's an erotic commitment, an obsessive plunge into the instrument's metallic churn and enveloping drone. That's been the way at least since Poss formed Band Of Susans with Susan Stenger in 1986, when he was also performing with Rhys Chatham. That phase reverberates through the motoric churn of "With Music No. 2", a composition commissioned by choreographer Sally Gross. Pieces written for the dance companies of Alexandra Beller and Gerald Casel also feature here along with music for specific occasions, as the subtitle indicates. His use of percussion, piano and electronics, and the broadly Ambient feel of tracks such as "Inverness" or "Then I Realized," might suggest that Poss has changed as he has developed, but the six-­‐stringed and amplified core of his musical imagination remains the same whatever the actual sound source. He's certainly extending into other areas here -­‐ the hobbling honky-­‐tonk of "Border Piano Walk," the synthetic orchestral pomp of "Tourniquet Revisited" -­‐ but the concluding live solo, "Robert Palmer Tribute Coda," leaves no doubt at all that at heart Poss is still a guy in love with a guitar. Go Robert Go.

Julian Cowley

Wire, December 2010

Robert Poss is responsible for a record that is mesmerizing and stunning in scope. This richly textured release features pieces commissioned for choreographers Alexandra Beller, Gerald Casel, and Sally Gross. This collection is a beautiful manipulation of sound, a droning amalgamation of artistically challenging brilliance. Leaving his guitar and wall of distortion at home, Poss generates songs of quiet, genteel serenity, almost to the point of not moving. Ethereal yet still piercing, Settings is a journey of enchanting beauty which hovers precariously on the verge of chaos. The opening bells of “Other Stories Interlude” (which return on “The Pleasure of Stillness”) and the engrossing “Feed Forward” are two of the works created for Beller, and two of my favorites. Longer efforts, particularly “Border Crossing March”, crafted for Casel, and the complex “Stare Decisis” are absorbing experiments of tone and structure. There is still room for remarkable warmth and beauty as exemplified by the lush strings on the majestic “Tourniquet Revisited”. The sophistication of Settings is staggering, for the record transcends soundscapes and enters rarified air usually reserved for only the most exemplary classical works. While each song is elegantly performed with a wholly unique personality, there is cohesion throughout the record as the fourteen tracks possess an intimacy and immediacy that defines the larger work. It is soulful and powerful in its scope and subtle force. Poss is a genius at creating atmospheres that are intimate yet expansive, daunting yet personal. Only on the concluding “Robert Palmer Tribute Coda” does Poss’ more traditional side emerge, as the song is a scathing eighty-five seconds of guitar squall and feedback. This is a triumph.

Rich Quinlan

Poss’ performance was a handsome demonstration of the relativity of the term ‘improvisation.’ What might have initially seemed like random wailing quickly became an event that bore witness to the presence of a deep knowledge and control of the instrument....The result was a massive heaping of electronic sound, a synthetic sonic bundle that you could cut with a knife.

Jacqueline Oskamp

De Groene Amsterdammer

[I]t is great, a reminder of what's still fascinating about the electric guitar. If you need a clear, clean refreshing blast of the basics, distortion is definitely truth.

Nick Reynolds

BBC Radio

At the same time as Poss' avant-garde experiments transform the guitar and open up new possibilities for the instrument, he doesn't completely forsake some of its more traditional sounds.

Wilson Neate

Dusted

This is highly innovative and highly melodic music for the experimental set. This is art, this is noise, this is feedback, this is blowing apart conventions, this is damn good songwriting. The guitar love affair continues and things just seem to be heating up.

Jonah Flicker

Lost at Sea

Whether riding resonating crests or layering light sounds of strums and hums, Robert Poss' emotive directions are equally moving and exciting.

SK

Free Williamsburg

…Guitar genius, drone meister and ex-Band Of Susans member…Robert Poss is the master of treated and manipulated guitars along with distorted drum machines and synths.

Larry Crane

Tape Op

Anyone under the impression that Sonic Youth were/are/could very well be the kings of six string overkill never crossed paths with Band Of Susans. What a glorious din of guitars, loops, wires and pedals that was….Chief Susan, real name Robert Poss, plugs back in to rekindle that old amp magic.

Thrust

…[A]n ADD-friendly hodgepodge of compelling fabrics, raw feedback, and driving noise….

Michael Chamy

AustinChronicle.com

An eccentric underground guitar hero.

LMNOP

Babysue

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All hail the overdriven amp, the feedback-saturated guitar pickup, the hum of harmonic sustain, the clamorous collision of power chords in the heart of the sonic maelstrom....Let us now praise Band Of Susans.

Robert Palmer

Rolling Stone Magazine

Robert Poss [and Band Of Susans] strum power chords and tremoloes that resonate until they fill a room with overtones, octave upon octave, chiming and buzzing and shimmering with forceful grandeur.

Jon Pareles

The New York Times

Band Of Susans, a co-ed New York City quintet, have put more electric guitar on one record than any other I've ever heard. Pop this beast into your car's system and blow your hardtop straight into the 1990s.

Spin

The Band Of Susans has inspired accolades. The truth is the band plays a complex, multi-textured melange of spirited pop songs with a high-decibel, three-guitar attack that is at times wildly inventive, grungy, dissonant, and utterly melodic.

QRM

A crucible of high art and trash rock culture. 

The Wire

It's about an enduring love of guitars that borders on potential deafness, about having the last passionate embrace of Rock 'n' Roll's blistered sorry being. It's about leaving the cliches to rest.

N.M.E.

Their songs are like excerpts from dirty realist fiction -- they look at the everyday hopelessness of lives that have gone wrong, that have suffered from the remorseless optimism the American Dream extracts, until they can't face reality anymore.

N.M.E.

Band Of Susans never loses sight of the passion that underscores the rigorous intellect of their music.

Chicago Tribune

Chiming, buzzy, trilling, dirty, clean, droning, swirly, gooey.... It's in there. Disparate guitars inhabit the songs like tenants in an East Village walk-up: they're quarrelsome, drunk on Rolling Rock -- each wants to be heard for itself, yet taken together the sum is greater than the parts.

Raygun

THIS is the kind of record that puts everything else into perspective. Compared to all the turgid, overstrained rock that's been clawing its way from America these past years, Veil soars like Lindbergh's plane...A sublime, breathtaking fluency. This is rock at its most liberated and free-flowing.

Melody Maker

Band Of Susans are the soundtrack for an epileptic fit, a lapse that feels like being seized by divine powers. Even amid all the nuisance of live performance, it's blindingly good.

Melody Maker

Adamantly arty, these New York subversives have since 1986 never lost faith in hypnotic guitar....Robert Poss and Susan Stenger prevail with dronefests rich in texture and heavy with stream-of-consciousness musings....The radical strategy pays off in music that is brainy, visceral and bracing.

Unsung heroes in pop’s gender wars, The Band Of Susans have surpassed the challenges put down by successive Downtown minimalists: the No New York groups, composers Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca. The result: the best guitar rock of the ‘80’s.

MOJO (U.K.)

Anyone who loves mean, unromantic electric guitar will get plenty of satisfaction from the first album by the Band Of Susans. With not one, but three lead guitars, this New York City-based group creates a sound that relates to other rock music the way the Great Wall Of China relates to a backyard fence.

People Magazine

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