Sunday, April 13, 2008

Add N to (X) - Live Recording with a Dead Thurston

Add N to (X) - "Live Recording with a Dead Thurston"

Taken from Thurston Moore's Root project, where he mailed out short guitar recordings sealed in vacuum-cleaner bags to a number of artists and musicians. What he wanted in return was never explicitly stated, so artists were free to compose remixes, responses, or even visual pieces. Collected together onto one CD, Root is a jarring album that's all over the map, and probably only for the most patient fans of experimental music. There's still lots of groovy B-side worthy material from the likes of Blur, Stereolab, Springheel Jack, and Luke Vibert, but much of the rest is punishing mechanical noise pieces. At nearly 80 minutes in length, this is not an easy listen. Some people might even say it... sucks.

There's no shortage of ear-grating noise pieces on the album, but most seem intent on getting under the listener's skin through unpleasant frequencies and irregular repetition instead of trying to knock them over with giant slabs of sound. Add N to (X) take the latter route and turn in one of the heaviest tracks I've ever heard, a huge, overdriven assembly of analog noise that sounds like some kind of terrible machine gone out of control. The group was always into merging the physical and the mechanical (as made obvious by their album covers and videos), and likewise there's an unsettling, living pulse beneath this inhuman racket. The end of this track always blows my head off. Brutal shit, this right here.

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