It’s gotta be said: With music reaching a certain point of post-genreness, abstract garnackness, and internet micro stankness, there’s going to be an album or two that comes across that just goes beyond reviewing. This record is seemingly objectively great, by the standards I was raised on. It’s original, it’s creative, it makes me hear things I haven’t heard before, it’s powerful and evocative. I know, these are all subjective, but I think if we tone down subjective from “all words mean anything” to “heads have different opinions” then we can safely say this record is all those things, even to the listener who finds Nickleback too gritty.
The record is original in that it falls outside of any real genre, including the outer weird ones that just use names of sounds as genre signifiers, like “drone” and “noise.” The fusion of both these genres or descriptions of sounds –take your pick– is done not in the scaredy ass way where the musician goes “I’m getting too zoned out better get harsh, now I’m nuclei draggingly harsh, better bliss back.” Rather the record begins with shattered clonkings that are so distant from the everyday scattered sound environments (kitchens, restaurants, stores etc…) that finally, in the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth, that these non-pitched sounds do NOT show us that music is everywhere. Rather, there is a presentation of totally unusual, unrecognizable, and ripe for dissemination sounds at the begging of this record. I am already hearing things I haven’t heard before.
The record is creative in that the balancing act created by the middle three tracks –a mixed back of harsh static, blissful drones, and vast pools of organized sounds– is unwrapped and flipped on it’s head in the last track in which the pools of sound shoot up piece of clear bowed instruments plucked and abused, each forming new pools as they go along.
The last track is where the powerful and evocative comes in. The whole record is both of these things of course, but in describing the finale to this beautiful work the powerful bit and the evocative bit became crystal. Let it be gushed. The reviews penned under this byline don’t go into Gushville often or really into Liketown the suburb down the road, but it’s worth it for this record. The record is powerful and evocative in that so many things are happening beneath the drones and clangs and the hiss and all those good words, but when in the last piece the magnifying glass keeps moving backwards and revealing more of the big picture the listener can start to realize that these ideas about sound organization are as unimportant to music as melody and rhythm. The last bit gives the big picture on the rest of the album. The different bits that bubble up on the final track and show off the bare bones of the piece, really the bare bones of any piece, reveal that these labels can at times help us understand music but the wildness and insanity of sound is best left unspoken.