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Original Silence The Second Original Silence Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Call them an avant rockaboogie death jazz supergroup, then duck for cover.

Martin Longley 2008

This is a swift sequel to 2007's original Original Silence album. Call them an avant rockaboogie death jazz supergroup, then duck for cover. Look at this line-up: Thurston Moore, Terrie Ex and Jim O'Rourke on guitars, the increasingly omnipresent Mats Gustafsson chewing all manner of reeds, plus one of the globe's greatest drummers, Paal Nilssen-Love. Only bass chunderer Massimo Pupillo is lesser-known, though he makes up for this fact by assuming the stance-of-the-mammoth throughout the proceedings. The disc was recorded live in Rome, back in 2006, and is made up of four improvisations, two around the twenty minute mark, and two in the eight minute range, these last almost pop-song-length by comparison.

The opening Argument Left Hanging-Rubber Cement begins by introducing the players gradually. Surely that's Terrie Ex's scratchy strumming, alone at the start? He's soon joined by Pupillo's pulping bass, then Nilssen-Love's skipping beats, the latter displaying a tight-funk aspect that's not his customary approach. Soon, Gustafsson squalls out on saxophone, fowl blood dripping down his shirt-front. Nearly three minutes in, and that sounds like O'Rourke, electronically tweaked. The band is improvising, but their vocabulary is an increasingly common linear outbreak of spontaneity, where repeating rock structures are instantly built.

The second piece, 22 mins 24 secs of A Sweeping Parade Of Optimism-Blood Streak, is the disc's pinnacle stretch. It's a flailing freak-out, with drums and bass locked into a spasmodic funk cramp. It's harder to tell the guitars apart here, as they issue their beautifully pustulous layerings, with Pupillo making a big, gooey extrusion underneath. The third track, High Trees & A Few Birds, has less sense of direct purpose, with a probing quality that comes close to dispersed floundering. That is, until it all coalesces near the climax of its 18 mins 31 secs, the guitars like ice floes breaking asunder. Somebody sounds like a screaming infant, probably Gustafsson. Ultimately, it peaks with some heavy articulated lorry-toppling. The closing Crepuscular Refractions-Mystery Eye is just over eight minutes of comparative compaction, bringing this exultant release to a wounded standstill.

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