Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sudden Oak / Paper Leg - 12.11.2008 (Bezoar Formations CD-R)

Here's the other one I got from the Bezoar folks, this time in the form of a beautifully packaged split. Combining the label house band with a project I haven't heard from, the split presents a nice document of what was surely a hell of a night. All recorded by Sean McCann too, to speak of the audience.

The first track is Sudden Oak's, and they present what is likely one of their tightest and clearest goes at it yet. Maybe it's the lack of tape hiss, but you can really pick out the sounds here, and the result is an even airier sounding grind that veers between finger-picked guitar eeriness and hollow dredges of saxophone billow. Actually, given the opening it's amazing these dude's manage to get as murky as they do--nice to know that's actually their sound and not just the recording method at work. Some reed grind makes itself clear though, and the general fidelity allows for bird calls and whale songs to find their way out of the river basin these guys dwell in. What's further, these dudes know when to pull it back down, always progressing clearly by building and, when they've gotten somewhere, cutting it off and having another go. This time it's ship bellows style with huge pumps spewing any water in the cargo area back out to sea. Totally weird and mobile, the thing goes through more realms than you can count but it always sounds distinctly Sudden Oak.

Paper Leg is the solo moniker of one Trevor Healy but man, it could just easily be two or three dudes having away at it. Muddied electronic work grinds along beneath deep saxophone breaths that really cry out from concrete padded walls. Almost an Uneven Universe/Handicapper Horns thing here but not quite. More focused and less purposefully nauseating it seems, but still a real trek into the outer reaches with hiss and piss combining into a real ball of super heated steam that gets tossed around with nary a caution. Thick stuff too, hardly any room to breath in there while this little percussive tap drives it into a frenzy that could raise mountains. Last bit is all eyes on the prize, serving as one big escalator to the sun--hot as hell up there though, and there's some unpleasant company to boot. Killer sound, damaged and unapologetically immense. Apparently this project is now a duo actually... can't imagine how big that sound is... killer split, brief but great tracks from both. The projects belong right there with one another too, and the package, again, is more than meets the eye. A lot to look at, a lot to hear.

Quick correction here which actually explains a good bit... Matt just let me know that these two pieces are actually both with all three participants playing together. Explains why that last track sounded so much a bigger band. Go figure.

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