Bruce Russell: Metallic OK (Glass Redux, 2017)

February 10, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Bruce Russell: Metallic OK

Bruce Russell’s solo material is generally even further out than his work with the Dead C. Rather than making an ungodly racket in a rock band format, his solo work tends to focus on limited sets of weird sounds, and wringing them for all they’re worth. He’ll tune his guitars the way bluesmen like Skip James did, then he’ll play them with knives or other devices not normally associated with music-making. Much of this was recorded live, and you can imagine the audience felt like they were being constantly zapped by high-voltage electrodes, but there’s no way they could possibly turn away or escape. Some tracks eschew guitars, instead using field recordings, metal bowls, and other sound sources. “Electro-magnetic Feedback Study #1 (Strange House in the Snow)” seems to blur the lines between radio and guitar feedback. “Woodchopping (Way On Up, Till the Sun Go Down)” sounds like, well, chopping wood; it’s almost like he’s hacking a guitar to bits and burying it in the dirt, and recording it all with contact mics. The last track (“Excerpt from ‘Motorboeating'”) is the longest one, and it’s the one where everything feels like it’s being consumed in a toxic meltdown.

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