Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sick Llama & Ben Hall - KillDevilHills (Brokenresearch 3")

Here's an oldy but goody that Ben lay on me a bit ago. Been waiting to get around to this for a while, especially as I'm such a fan of the 3" format, and Ben always does it right with his Brokenresearch operation. This time around its a tag team effort with Fag Tapes head Heath Moreland, whose twelve cassette box set last year was one of the most epic things I've heard in a while. Always wanted to review it but it was just too far reaching to wrap my head around... regardless, this combo is an intriguing one; Ben's drum work often gets into grinding cymbal explorations, and its this approach that he wisely takes in playing with the twisted tape and whacked clarinet of Moreland.

At only two tracks and eighteen minutes, the unit open slow, leaving ample space for each voice to individually be heard. Both of these dudes, though vastly different in approach, are into the industrial scrape and lowercase improv combo, and it is in this realm that they find common ground. Ben's cymbal batterings skim off Moreland's analog gestures and crunched clarinet lines as the duo move into stark and dismal waters. Very thoughtful in its own way, as neither party delves into their chaotic potential.

The second track traverses similar ground with muttering underbellies interacting among drills and shards of instrument remnants. Considering the typically singular vision of Moreland, it's nice to see him use these same techniques in reaction to Hall... actually a surprisingly elastic approach considering the usual depth of his lines. The whole thing ends up sounding kind of like a stripped down, half-buried Graveyards, though with a bit fewer overtly jazz influenced moments. Instead it's all texture and feel, and the two prove to mesh wonderfully. Too short, but killer nonetheless. Gotta wonder if the tandem will ever do it again, but we can certainly hope...

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