Plasmatic Brain Spasm
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Plasmatic Brain Spasm

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"Rift Magazine Review"

Plasmatic Brain Spasm's self-titles release weaves in and out of musical genres moving from techno, a little hip-hop, rock, and of course funk--where the Twin Cities band feels most at home. The album is successfully driven by Shawn "Lawnmower" Bachinski's bass playing and Aaron Bellamy's percussion, and Ryan Branstner's stacatto guitar playing melds nicely into the background. There are lots of sounds on the recording, but it doesn't get muddy or cluttered; the band knows when to lay off so the sounds don't trip over themselves. My favorite song is "All Around" which got my head bobbing to the music. It comes right on the heels of the opening spoken word piece "The Furthest [sic] Star," (the tow sound as if they are the same song) spoken in a Barry White-ish voice. Lots of good grooves on this album. Trailing Thoughts: Why don't percussionist Aaron Bellamy and guitarist Ryan Branstner have nick-names? I could have gone for a slower song or two on the album, but that's just me talking. Vocalist Anna Marie "Pepper" Engstrom and Erica "Kah" Shepard each have distinct individual singing voices, but when they harmonize, they kind of sound like Axl Rose and/or Prince a few times. - Jack Evans, for Rift


"Funkstore Review"

Question. Mix one part psychedelic blues, throw in some hip-hop, Funkadelia, futuristic concept, slick 80s Minneapolis synth-funk grooves, real drums, spaced reggae and a dose of strong ambient trance-like vocalization and what do you get? A Plasmatic Brain Spasm. This self-described multi-gendered rock/funk quintet does all of the above and then some on its self-titled debut CD. Axeman Ryan Branstner carves up some of the most shredded eargasm guitar rantings this side of Buckethead. He's going for some incredible tones here, and oh yea, his unmistakable chops are oft turned waaaay up in the colorful, thick mélange of sounds thru 10 tracks that seamlessly segueway into one another. Shawn Bachinski's bubbling Bootsyesque bass thumping and Aaron Bellamy's hard pounding skins to complete the searing rhythm section. Don't know who is doing most of the synth effects but they are on the one. And then those funky, swangy vocals. Anna Marie (Pepper) Engstrom and Erica (Kah) Shepard's voices sound like they are lifted right off of an old Brides of Funkenstein album. Not satisfied by being simply funky, Plasmatic Brain Spasm has somn to say as well. Singing about stuff like the Illuminati and other zeep subject matter like "Asteroids & Jellybeans", lol. "Dancefloor Virus" is just a wicked, heavy, funky, polyrhythmic groove. And although I could use that description for all the tracks (ain't no filler no where), each song truly has a personality of its own. At times the band just builds up this full head of steam only to melt the groove down into a smoldering cauldron of sound, and then they come out of it right back on the one. It's some rocked out funk all right. Whoever that is rapping over the blistering groove of "Squarewave Sucker" got his chops strait from Chuck D. The set closes with the jazzy, mid-tempo dreamy funk of "Supersize Afternoon". This is just another outstanding effort from some great musicians raised up at the foot of the Pee. And it goes into heavy rotation in my player. The future of funk music is now!! - Atlanta Radio Personality Bustin Bob Mitchell, for TheFunkstore.com


"Pulse Twin Cities Review"

I think I may have actually experienced a plasmatic brain spasm or two over the years—tell me, izzat when all the pretty lights and colors explode inside your skull right after a particularly choking rip offa the old Graffix? One might assume, from the completely silly moniker this band has chosen, as well as their bright, shiny little press kit, that they’ve had more than just one or two themselves.

Thankfully, local funk fanatics Ryan Branstner (guitars) and Shawn “Lawnmower” Bachinski (bass) chose as their dank-y soundtracks battered old eight-tracks of Parliament-Funkadelic, Rick James, The Ohio Players and Bootsy’s Rubber Band instead of endless hours of perfectly filed Dick’s Picks. Augmented by spot-on, femme fatale vocalists Kah Shepard and Pepper Engstrom, along with beat-perfect skinman Aaron Bellamy (Sound Imperium), Branstner and “Lawnmower” just may be the futuristic, vanilla-hued Brothers Johnson the Cities have been waiting impatiently for since the heyday of Morris Day.

Putting to good use an extensive knowledge of da funk—as well as an uncanny knack for riding a groove until it’s as foamy and sweaty as a rushin’ racehorse—PBS manages to flesh out and bring to life their own personal “Dr. Funkenstein”-meets-Zappa-style experimentations authentically and respectfully. Without employing the usual hackneyed writing and recording standards, they lay down a nasty, honest, reaffirming tribute to some of the music world’s baddest sounds via their own original, modern (there’s even a hint of streetwise hip-hop here and there) musical sensibilities.

This album isn’t going to change the world (though it would be fucking awesome if some of today’s more popular producers were stuck in an elevator for six hours with nothing but a steady diet of this type of blistering, fever-inducing funk stank), nor will it cause listeners to take up causes, paint picket signs or riot in the streets. But then, clean, smooth funk beats and keen, slicing axe-work atop bone-chilling lead vocals were never meant to do much more than what this album does—provide a solid, sometimes head-turning background for your next party, extended work night, nookie session or private, candlelit groove in the tub. Wherever you listen to it, make sure you crank the bass up high and give yourself a healthy plasmatic brain spasm of your own. Super-stanky!
- Tom Hallett


Discography

Plasmatic Brain Spasm - Future is Future; Out 2009
Plasmatic Brain Spasm - Self Titled; 2005
2NoHo - Self Titled; 2007
Perfect Orange - Spill; 2003
Perfect Orange - New Shade of Light; 2002
Check - Self Titled; 2001

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