Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Dream/Aktion Unit - 'Blood Shadow Rampage' (Volcanic Tongue)

With gatefold-CD artwork painted to recall the "video nasties" of the 1980s, Blood Shadow Rampage sets its aesthetic loud and clear before the disc even starts. Consisting of Thurston Moore, Heather Leigh Murray, Chris Corsano, Matthew Heyner and Paul Flaherty, it's totally twisted and free, as you'd expect. But it's not just a big ball of noise - there are improvising musicians, not in-the-red noiseniks (for the most part) and there are some really sparse comedowns, particularly during 'Your Missing Foot' and 'Brutal Lust'. Corsano and Heyner are an interesting pairing and they serve to really make this recording distinct from other Corsano/Flaherty projects - they often hold back, playing around rhythm  and letting the unusual assonance of Moore and Murray's strings create what are sometimes quite psychedelic toneclouds. It's not always clear to me what's Flaherty, what's Murray, and what's Moore, especially when there gets to be more high-pitched frequencies. But there are moments, such as on the closing track ('Here Come the Fucking Dead') where Flaherty amps up the vibrato and there's no doubt you're listening to a saxophone. You can get a sense of the musicians pushing and challenging each other, and there are moments that scream against the identity of free music, with the swirling gasps of feedback and other tinnitus-enhancing treats. When Corsano does kick in, it's often cathartic, and Moore (whose guitar is the most elusive animal here) occasionally steps in to remind you that, yes, he's Thurston Moore. This is a live recording from Stirling, Scotland and the crowd responds appropriately. 

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