Brown – ‘Lepidoptera’; and Andrew Coltrane/Bob Bellerue – ‘A Confederassy of Burnt Bridges’ [Review]

Portland musician Jeremy Long records essential minimalism under the title Brown, while baring plain continuities with his membership in Tecumseh; but where that band represents the earthen element in trying to ford the chasm between minimal and maximal, Brown’s debut ‘Lepidoptera’ makes a micro-tonal sound of pure air, barely holding the light that gives it color.  Glassy, non-figurative drones – essentially the same eternal sound refracted from the days of Morton Feldman – yet now referring by its appropriation to the cosmos in ‘Challenger’ by Burning Star Core or Nurse With Wound’s expansive ‘Space Music’, the side-long pairing “Cocoon” and “Lepidoptera” contrast like water into water, two vague precipitating stains in the soundfield.  Though technically side B (but reversed in the etching – the only thing to mark each side), these two tracks are the unstained ginger to cleanse the ear before the rough grain of the flipside, “Last Instar”: consuming the whole side with one sustained chord, the track vibrates with an intense power which hastily numbs then swallows smaller intonations, the constitutive threads often apparent like strands of saffron in the contours of this brown stream.  More vital, it soon becomes clear this macro figure is not in fact “floating in space” of some modernist ether, but rather writhes in some indeterminate vessel – the bounds of which are suggested in sonar, when the chord strikes a wall or echoes further down the chamber of this unknown architecture.  In like company with the brutal holism of Nicholas Szczepanik.  Screened sleeve and insert, limited to 200.  Recommended.

The split release ‘A Confederassy of Burnt Bridges’ leaves little to write home about, and in the best sense of “no news is good news”: a classic jammer for noise heads, Andrew Coltrane brings a standard pair of his live recordings, crashing with deconstructed brick and mortar – and in this vinyl presentation (and despite the original cassette capture), every pore is visible, every screaming conflict of contrast.  “Choked By Lust” is a high-volume/ slow-motion mattress exploding, made with fabric of coarse wool, stuffing of yawning steel, and the utterances of, ah, unconventional female pleasure.  “Neverending Hatred” stews in these sounds further, much appearing backwards and coupled by the pathetic whine of frustration, like trying to glue said mattress back together as though it were a clean-edged Black Vase, and not in fact a lot of foam and coil.  Bob Bellerue’s “Busted Landscapes” is equally a typical display of thoughtful pacing and lead-footed accelerations, like he’s picking out from a wide selection of sonic swatches, big and small, and then simply smashing them into the grid of the linear recording.  Twitters of feedback, groaning arches of staccato vibration, flutters of stutters, and a recurrent narration, all filtered through a soot of ungrounded electronics.  A bugle’s cry is the only, tenuous marker of this antebellum scene.  Sleeved in plain labels and white sleeves with a handsome, pasted-on butt-collage by Bellerue.  125 copies.

Anarchymoon LP

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