Today’s Sounds: Nate Wooley, Christian Weber, Paul Lytton
Nate Wooley, Christian Weber, Paul Lytton, Six Feet Under (NoBusiness)
Despite the unambiguously mortal title, expect no keening here. This is sepulchral art with a difference, teeming with activity from the dark side.
“Pushing up Daisies” is typical, starting innocently enough with trumpet squiggles and wooden bass bursts, but rapidly moving through a series of capricious scene changes. A march beat from the snare hurries past, followed by a stentorian arco bass drone, interrupted by trumpet blasting a mix of white noise, glass shatters and screeching fowl, rasping buzzsaws with a menacing pulse beat morphing into monstrous gallows, where countless heads are sequentially severed to the slow-motion rhythm of falling dominoes.
If this is a burial soundscape, then the graveyard must be located inside an aphotic forest, razed by murderous lumberjacks bombarded by swarms of propeller-driven warplanes. Or maybe this is intended to elucidate the cause of death. In any case, for those not already gone, the mind-numbing intensity induces anoesis, obliterating the mundane loops and daily grinds of relentless meaninglessness. In other words, this is great noise music.
This all-acoustic improvising trio features trumpeter Nate Wooley, Christian Weber on bass and the percussion of Paul Lytton. Wooley has written about being influenced by analog electronic music, jazz and doom, combining these and other ideas through juxtaposition and density more than pulse or conventional melodic material. This makes him a good fit for Weber, who has worked in avant jazz with the likes of Oliver Lake and Paul Dunmall, but also in noise units with Jason Kahn and Günter Müller. His background in modern classical makes him adept with the bow, used to great effect here in long bristly rumbles that entwine with Wooley’s burling snarls. Lytton plays like a blind kid fooling around a metal junk shop. While often keeping a steady tempo of weird beats, he can warp from a simple repeating low tom boom to the pointillism of steel pins clattering around a metallic chamber.
There are more than just nightmares here, with some dreamier, quiet moments. The wistful “Moribund” could provide the background music for reviewing one’s life, while “Check Out Time” starts nervously and builds to a crescendo before going out with a whispering whimper.
If the CD is on life support, then NoBusiness is to be commended for ensuring that the LP lives on. This splattering platter is to die for.
Bat for Lashes, “We Found Love”
It’s a Rihanna cover, performed on BBC. Natasha Khan & co. strip away the pop glimmer and submerge the song in shadow, as it should be.