"gastr del sol was the most prominent vehicle of indie rock stalwart david grubbs, a former member of squirrel bait and bastro. with gastr del sol, the louisville, ky-born vocalist/guitarist/pianist's evolution from conventional rock music into more intricate and sophisticated tone patterns became complete; debuting with the 1993 ep the serpentine similar, the group -- a shifting aggregate of talents initially including bassist bundy k. brown and drummer john mcentire -- began exploring a new approach, taking off from often improvisational performances to embark on highly idiosyncratic sonic adventures. with the single "20 songs less," guitarist, composer, and tape manipulator jim o'rourke signed on, and following the departure of brown, and with the decreased involvement of mcentire, gastr del sol became a kind of catchall tag for grubbs and o'rourke's many eclectic projects; the acoustic crookt, crackt, or fly followed in 1994, as did the ep mirror repair. with 1995's the harp factory on lake street, grubbs and o'rourke composed a single 17-minute orchestral piece, while with 1996's upgrade and afterlife they returned to more more traditional dynamics to create their most beautiful and intriguing work to date. o'rourke left gastr del sol in 1997, shortly after completing work on camoufleur, which was released in january 1998."
text by jason ankeny