Guitar drones and electronic experimentation from Band of Susans founder Robert Poss.
Nick Reynolds 2003-06-30
Sometimes your ears get jaded. For example, I have become addicted to the music channels on my cable TV. But there are only so many Jennifer Lopez videos you can watch without feeling slightly sick. Distortion Is Truth is like a pure glass of sparkling mineral water after too many burgers. The bracing phased electronic pulse of the track "Henix Sambolo" moved the air around the room and gave my ears a good, brisk clean out.
Robert Poss is a veteran of the New York avant garde. Guitars, electronics and drones have been his life's obsession. He's probably best known for his Band of Susans who gave Sonic Youth a run for their money in the guitars/art/noise/rock stakes in the eighties. Band of Susans split up in 1995 and this is his first soloCD since; very good it is too.
It's a mixture of electronic pieces and guitar improvisations. The electronic bits are uniformly excellent and usually not long enough (I could have done with another five minutes of the backwards loop of "Zener Shunt").
The guitar jams are mostly recorded live. Poss hones in on the details and the fundamentals. You don't get flash playing with lots of notes; rather explorations of tones, textures, skeletal rythmns and noise. "Memphis/Little Rock" is terrific, basic blues slide guitar, visceral and thrilling. "You Were Relentless" lives up to its title: head banging one chord rock. "You Know The Drill" plays around with feedback while "Tinikling" features some evil bent notes.
Over the course of sixty minutes there are a couple of ordinary tracks. This may not be cutting edge and it's certainly not glitch techno. But it is great, a reminder of what's still fascinating about the electric guitar. If you need a clear, clean refreshing blast of the basics, distortion is definitely truth.