bill orcutt: how the thing sings (editions mego)

the thing’s changed. the thing’s the same. when he first wandered in from the desert with his buggered four string acoustic, bill orcutt kinda took us by surprise. there’s less sense of unplugged shock this time round. and while it’s a similar furrow being ploughed (still just orcutt, his guitar and straight-to-mic recording) it’s all a bit less… claustrophobic.

the first record’s automatism’s remains in place, that sense of switching off and letting fingers do the talking. instinctual aural explorations, yeah. battles between the conscious and subconscious. an attempt to liberate and be liberated, to unshackle and let loose those surrealist / dadaist qualities found in free jazz or noise or what derek bailey described as non-idiomatic music. that (kindof) stream of conscience, unstructured, improvised wordage or painting the impulsive / compulsive motor responses of andré massons pen-clutching hand birthed. a separation of mind and fingers, where digits, uncontrollable, rush headlong into the next with no time for the here and now, into a knotted frenzy of strings and battered and rhythmic ejaculation.

that said… breathing space (literally on ‘til i get satisfied). less attack. moments emerging, quiet gasps between hiccups and fits. glass shards of melody among the vomit of hammeredhammeredhammered notes. adrenal spikes fade, delicious spasming subsides. a tangled delicate strum unfurls. the noise that comes from him, flesh on steel and wood, the sighs and glottal paroxysms flung from his throat as much a part of the music as his kay is.

sure there’s knowing winks at raw blues, the repetition and cadence of lightnin’ hopkins and fred mcdowell, at the muscular improvisations of albert ayler, the rhythmic assaults of cecil taylor, but honestly this frantic autistic pick and weave, this unthinking huff and howl, this belongs to no-one but orcutt just now.

fabulous title (rolls off the tongue like an ee cummings line). fabulous sleeve. fabulous record.

palilalia / editions mego

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