Saturday, March 22, 2008

Binges - Flame of the Millenium (Night People CD-R)

Binges are the Chicago duo of Anthony Decanini and Chris Robert. I found out about this group from a friend of mine who had gotten the CD in search of more stuff along the same punctured vein as Graveyards. Well, Binges was way off the mark, but what a glorious miss this one was! Utilizing Robert's drums, and assorted percussive elements (I'm guessing tables, chairs, walls, tables and chairs against walls, etc.) along with Decanini's electronics, sax, gee-tar, and bass, Binges conjure up some of the tightest and most focused improv this side of Actuel. Flame of the Millenium is their second effort, and first on tour buddies Raccoo-oo-oon's label Night People.

Comprised of eight untitled tracks, the album hauls ass the whole way through. Kicking things off with a DNA-style melody, all harsh and assaultive like, the album never slows down, even when exploring more ambient territory. Drums clammer in, stuttering and plugging along, driving the looped and craggy mayhem of this sonic canyon. These lands is hot though, so bring sunscreen.

What's best about the album is the overt precision that these guys cull forth. While a lot of bands might pride themselves on loose and loping rhythms and aimless meanderings, Binges is of a more focused sort, and the amount of power that the duo is able to wield because of it pays off big time. The second track opts to display a completely different side to their focus, culling forth frothing loops and warm ambient electronics as they slide along towards an increasingly manic end. Never playing more than necessary, this is clearly a pair who shares some kind of twisted and volatile vision of post-Mars, post-Shepp, post-Stockhausen orgies.

Track three is all stuttering and bleeping, a workout session for the circuit board and hi-hat. Again, the depth and resilience these guys attain is really killer. Its out there, for sure, but it never loses its repetitive nature or its mobility. Same goes for the fourth track, which is all excess energy and movement. This Robert fellow may not be the next Sunny Murray, but he's certainly nodding his head in that particular direction. His swells and activity really keep the pieces grooving throughout, like Tom Bruno (of Test) jamming out with John Olson.

Track five is another patient builder of a piece, with the sounds of clay pipes and bowels huddling together in the cold. The whole thing is vaguely reminiscent of some complex wind harnessing mechanism that merges pipes, chimes, and electronic currents into one naturally ebbing, clattery piece of sonic debris. Tracks six and seven reharness their harsher leanings, and definitely morph their ways towards respective danger zones.

Oddly, track eight is the closest of the bunch to Graveyards, though much less minimal and lurching. Binges never fail to keep it swinging--it's all kinetic focus and maniacal maneuvers. The group's already released another album on Arbor, so hopefully they will continue to hone their quickly developing sound. Hell, they've already been hailed as future kings of the Chicago underground, so who am I to tout their excellence? Limited to 200 copies. Definitely one to watch.

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