Wednesday, January 11, 2006

LUIGI ARCHETTI/BO WIGET - Low Tide Digitals II CD (Rune Grammofon)
XASTHUR/NORTT - Split CD (Southern Lord)
Two very different recordings currently doing the rounds at home, work and in the car. Archetti and Wiget, an Italian/Swiss duo who make a racket w/ cello, guitar and electronics, are back with a sophomore CD on one of the planet's most interesting contemporary labels, Norway's Rune Grammofon. Read their web site and you'll see a plethora of fascinating reviews w/ an assortment of blowhards throwing names around like LaMonte Young, AMM, Arvo Part, Fripp/Eno and even Sonic Youth (dunno where that comparison comes from). I'd like to join that gang of blowhards, please. This is a fairly stunning recording, eclectic and spacious without ever getting too lightweight. I was a sucker for this kinda nonsense back in the mid '90s. Lo and behold, I even owned a few Oval records before good sense got the better of me and I suddenly realised that their albums possessed all the excitement of drying paint. "Avant-electronica" and its associated brethren bit the big one by last decade's end for the very reason that most such movements do: the law of diminishing returns. Nowadays I could care less for most music which flies under that banner, but what makes Archetti/Wiget rise above the pack is their rich, analogue sense of warmth and Frippian guitar mangling. In lesser hands, this'd be a mess, but like the critics say, if you're partial to a bit of No Pussyfooting meets AMM ca. Generative Themes, this CD is as good as can be done in the mid-noughties.

Nortt. Xasthur. Catchy fuckin' names, huh? This was released last year and has actually sat around me place for a good 6 months but has been rediscovered of late in my search for some kick-ass party music for the car. This recording will kick your ass, though you can't party to it. Xasthur and Nortt are both contemporary one-man-band practitioners of doom 'n' gloom no-fi Black Metal, from California and Denmark, respectively. No lightning-paced blastbeat shit here; no song paces itself faster than a mile a day. This... is... sloooow. I'll be darned if I could pick either "band" apart - both Nortt and Xasthur may as well be the same guy - but putting aside all apparent common sense and good taste, this is a recording I receive great enjoyment from. Monotonous piano lines abound, a ridiculously grotty and fuzzed-out guitar sound crunches its way throughout the whole platter and the vocals sound like they're slowly being vomited out. I get a distinct feeling that, being almost 34 years old, the vast bulk of the general public would agree that I shouldn't be listening to this kind of stuff. I'm too old. The music is garbage. It's infantile and moronic. I guess I just can't help myself. Killer!

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