Tabs Out | Regattas – Garudas

Regattas – Garudas
11.13.17 by Ryan Masteller


I first encountered the mighty Garuda in Final Fantasy IX, because where the hell else is that gonna happen? Sure, you may have played FFIII or FFVII (and I played VII, OK?), but I remember vividly those encounters in Oeilvert and Esto Gaza where I wasn’t sure if I had enough HP to take on the flying bastards or if I was gonna have to dip into my inventory for an Elixir or a Hi-Potion. (I was always OK.) Now, looking back on it, I wonder if the Garuda shrieked a sound like a strangled saxophone before engaging in battle.

There’s the connection! “Garudas,” besides being the plural form of the name of a terrifying bird monster, is also the title of Sam Hillmer’s first solo tenor saxophone collection, a 2007 release under the name Regattas (which doesn’t really have anything to do with anything else – “regatta” means “a series of boat races). You might recognize Sam from his long-running experimental NYC project Zs, or you might know his work as Diamond Terrifier (and if you don’t, check out “Kill the Self That Wants to Kill Yourself” on Northern Spy, which, ahem, I wrote about once upon a time). “Garudas” even features the debut of the “Diamond Terrifier” concept, as that’s the name of track B3. Does that make this release his Mount Eerie? I don’t even know what that means.

If you’re going anywhere for Hillmer-related business, you’re going for the saxomophone, and “Garudas” is filled to overflowing with brassy goodness. Even back in oh-seven Hillmer was predicting the cornucopia of avant-jazz experimentation that we’re #blessed with today, from Astral Spirits to … Astral Spirits and beyond! (God I love Astral Spirits.) There’s no one with a more tightly controlled grasp on his horn than Hillmer (that came out wrong), and he wields it like a magic weapon, poised to take down in a series of turn-based blows any monstrous fantasy creature that steps out of a forest. Possibly while in Trance. To say that Hillmer is triumphant is as obvious as that saying about bears and the woods and … there’s something they do there … it’s on the tip of my tongue, I don’t quite have it.

So we thank the gods at Shinkoyo that they deemed it necessary to re-release a cassette version of “Garudas” on its tenth anniversary. Snatch one up before they’re gone for good! Or only available digitally! Which nobody wants!

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