From sticking screwdrivers in guitars to creating some of the most sublime alternative guitar anthems ever, Thurston Moore has long been credited as a guitar genius. His former band Sonic Youth still remain one of the best bands to emerge from the U.S. creating a dazzling array of noise warped melodies over their thirty years of existence. Having seen them live around fifteen times (yes I was obsessed with this band – still am!), I can vouch for the fact that both live and on record, they were musical pioneers. Going on hiatus, or a possible split, several years ago, the band members have all embarked on an array of solo ventures, all equally enthralling and worth a listen. Running alongside both the Sonic Youth days, and the solo work, has always been the more experimental adventures into guitar music, often with an array of intriguing and acclaimed composers  from the world of the avant-garde, psych, folk, jazz and blues scenes. This album is a live recording of Moore and free-jazz drummer Tom Surgal from 1994, and was only released previously in New Zealand. No idea why. Anyway, now it’s available to all, and although the album is only three tracks long – they’re all huge. First up is the snappily titled “Klangfarbenmelodie…And The Colorist Strikes Primitiv Part 1”, which lasts twenty minutes and starts off with a lot of scraping of guitars, shuffling drums and builds into a wall of noise. No discernible melodies, just intriguing musical sounds which stack up into mountainous proportions. It’s Moore and Surgal at their free-flowing, experimental best, as the sound ebbs and flows into various notes, chords and rhythms. You get the feeling that they both enjoy the freedom this kind of musical expression brings. The performance piece continues in “Klangfarbenmelodie…And The Colorist Strikes Primitiv Part 2” which continues the mood evoked by the first track, and builds even higher (as it’s all essentially the same piece). Track 3 is a completely different work altogether called “Phase II” which rings out with those noisy guitars in a different rhythm and drone, as the drums subtly add to the soundscape, without keeping a strict time or powering the piece along, as in conventional rock music. Walking around Manchester city centre listening to this album on my headphones, is actually the best way to appreciate its soundtrack qualities and immerse yourself in its eerie yet beautiful tones. As cranes dot the skyline, skyscrapers being built all around, building sites, busy traffic, and the existing red brick and vintage architecture all combine to fit the dystopian guitar sounds and wandering drums perfectly. Would I have listened to this type of music if Thurston wasn’t involved? Probably not, but that shows more about my misconceptions of the experimental, avant-garde music universe, as opposed to the actual quality of the records in that genre, but then I’m always up for a musical challenge, and discovering new music is why I got into this writing shenanigans in the first place! Opening your ears to new stuff is always an enthralling prospect and once you delve into Moore and Surgal’s world of experimental textures, especially when walking around town, or on a bus or train journey, it can be a mesmerising experience and transport your thoughts to a million miles away. Eerily hypnotic stuff.

Klangfarbenmelodie…And The Colorist Strikes Primitiv: Released 2nd November 2018 (Glass Modern Records)

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.