James Plotkin & Paal Nilssen-Love – ‘Death Rattle’ [Review]

rcd-2148-james-plotkin-paal-nilssen-love-death-rattle-cd_19_2013-08-22-18-32-12‘Death Rattle’ is a consummation of sorts: not a total rarity but a rarified convergence of underground music, as in experimental rock, and soloistic collaboration, as in experimental jazz. It’s also international, which doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot, except for the historical eventuality of this consummation. The American guitarist, James Plotkin (Khanate, Jodis, master[er] of everything you love), and the Norweigian drummer, Paal Nilssen-Love (Scorch Trio, The Thing, Ken Vandermark, Pete Brötzmann), long-orbiting and finally-colliding, discuss in their respective voices the technical aspects of playing and breaking with repression. Together, the pair make a more severe Lightning Bolt, primped on the epic progressions of kraut-rock and the brute gear-worship of Southern Lord & Co. The whole thing is in the red. Even when building, the levels are in excess, just pushed further back in the frame. Over four tracks, each around 11 minutes, they climb over one another, writhing with carefully-keyed pedal effects and rolling sequences of percussion. Just the same, don’t let the “experimental” tag undermine the album format: these are well-composed demonstrations of expertise (see the artists’ CVs), an excellent concession to the forces of solid riffing and improvisational free construction. The pair expound on both idioms of their many genres, as well as the physical compounds of their instruments and supporting devices (in their hands, instruments in themselves). There is nothing that feels post-production here; this is merely a show of total vision and perfect execution. Like the best of works, this is a singular work of genius that requires little more than to say: listen. Vinyl comes in a pressing of 500. Highly recommended.

Rune Grammofon CD/LP

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