Dieterich & Barnes: The Coral Casino (LM Dupli-Cation, 2016)

May 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dieterich & Barnes: The Coral Casino

Dieterich & Barnes: The Coral Casino

Collaboration between John Dietrich (Deerhoof) and Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk & A Hacksaw). As someone who has never been able to get into Deerhoof and completely burned out on NMH a decade ago, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. In all honesty, I think the fact that this album is instrumental helps me enjoy it so much. There’s nothing to distract me from the splashy drumming and colorful melodies. Apparently these two guys had never worked together before recording this album, but you’d never know it because their styles blend so fluidly here. It sounds like they came up with all of these tracks on the spot, yet there’s so much care put into them. There’s hints of Afrobeat rhythms, vintage soundtrack moods, some baroque-ness, maybe some influence from David Axelrod arrangements, and inevitably a whiff of Zappa. All of the tracks sound different, and it’s never predictable, yet it rarely sounds pretentious or calculated. The last track is about as manic and chaotic as it gets, and “Mummers” is a short burst of crashing drums. Other than that, it’s really spirited and exciting. “Philae Lands on Comet 67p_Churyumov-Gerasimenko” is a really cool jazzy/Krauty outerspace fantasy. “Sandwild” is really dense and frantic, but in an energetic way. “What” has the baroque harpsichord-like flourishes and a stumbling rhythm, but it maintains its composure and progresses in a thrilling way. “Brain Envy” recalls both instrumental Zappa and Can, but a bit more pumped-up than either. “The Frost Pocket” starts out with sorrowful strings and eventually builds to a thundering, dramatic climax. Quite a magnificent, dynamic album.

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