Dean Spunt and John Wiese have spent their careers pushing and prodding at punk music from completely different angles. As one half of No Age, Spunt imbues old-school punk rock with the elegant, layering his Ramones-y songs with shimmering partitions of distortion till they grow to be heavenly, larger-than-life anthems. Wiese takes an uglier path, creating harsh noise below his personal title and churning out teeth-gnashing grindcore together with his shapeshifting group Sissy Spacek. Although their approaches might differ, each artists have discovered invigorating methods to toy with the boundaries of their genres, reconfiguring them into stunning, weird new shapes and changing into godfathers of L.A. DIY within the course of.
The Echoing Shell is the pair’s first full-length collaboration, and stylistically the album sits in Wiese’s aspect of the court docket. Working with Spunt’s free, flowing drum patterns, Wiese makes use of his ear-prickling collage modifying model to remodel the drum equipment right into a automobile for long-form, harsh-noise hallucinations. In some methods, it looks like a follow-up to Wiese’s 2007 launch Gentle Punk; however the place that album spliced reside recordings from punk exhibits into an exhilarating, avant-garde hurricane, The Echoing Shell is a extra elegant dalliance into noise, focusing as an alternative on the lingering tone of crash cymbals left hanging within the air, or the way in which Spunt’s crisp hi-hats bounce off Wiese’s fizzling undercurrent of suggestions. Each small interplay between the 2 musicians is rife with refined particulars that reward shut listening, every tense second of silence hinting at a ruthless chaos threatening to interrupt free.
There may be little to distinguish every of the album’s sidelong tracks—titled “Fruit From Coloration Vapor” and “Black Fruit,” respectively—other than the latter lending itself extra to full-on blasts of hellish suggestions. For probably the most half, The Echoing Shell is extra simmering than stinging. Within the opening minutes of the album, Wiese twists Spunt’s tapped cymbals right into a haunting, mangled apparition, till about two minutes in when an onslaught of noise bursts like a demonic entity clawing to be let loose. Spunt constantly turns his drums into their very own textural playground, like close to the tip of “Black Fruit,” when he begins to click on his sticks all alongside the perimeters of the equipment. As he unleashes jazzy fills into empty house, Wiese takes a magnifying glass to the snare hits, enlarging them till they’re as blown out as an overexposed polaroid. Even when the sounds really feel summary, the duo makes them movement as naturally as every other jam session.
All through The Echoing Shell, Spunt and Wiese make the dissonance appear virtually sleek. All the duo’s sine tones dance on the higher finish of the register, all the time hovering simply beneath the edge the place it’d really begin to grow to be grating. Fairly than waging a full-on assault, they go for surgical precision, panning backwards and forwards and cresting on a continuing stream of free-associative noise logic. It could begin to blur collectively should you let it drift into the background, however hear intently and The Echoing Shell affords worlds of hypnotic interaction, as visceral and intense as any punk file.
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