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Thrill Jockey instrumental duo Rome are, like many of the acts on the Chicago-based independent label, generally categorized as loose adherents of "post-rock," a period-genre arising in the mid-'90s to refer to rock-based bands utilizing the instruments and structures of music in a non-traditionalist or otherwise heavily mutated fashion. Unlike other Thrill Jockey artists such as Tortoise and Trans-Am, however, Rome draw less obviously from the past, using instruments closely associated with dub (melodica, studio effects), ambient (synthesizers, found sounds), industrial (machine beats, abrasive sounds), and space music (soundtrack-y atmospherics), but fashioning from them a sound which clearly lies beyond the boundaries of each. Perhaps best described as simply "experimental," Rome formed in the early '90s as the trio of Rik Shaw (bass), Le Deuce (electronics), and Elliot Dicks (drums). Based in Chicago, their Thrill Jockey debut was a soupy collage of echoing drums, looping electronics, and deep, droning bass, with an overwhelmingly live feel (the band later divulged that much of the album was the product of studio jamming and leave-the-tape-running-styled improvisation). Benefiting from an early association with labelmates Tortoise as representing a new direction for American rock, Rome toured the U.S. and U.K. with the group (even before the album had been released), also appearing on the German Mille Plateaux label's tribute compilation to French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, In Memoriam. Although drummer Dicks left the group soon after the first album was released, Shaw and Deuce wasted no time with new material, releasing the "Beware Soul Snatchers" single within weeks of its appearance. An even denser slab of inboard studio trickery, "Soul Snatchers" was the clearest example to date of the group's evolving sound, though further recordings failed to materialize. ~ Sean Cooper

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