Album Reviews

Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt: Made Out of Sound – “musicianship at its peak”

The collaborations keep coming in 2021 with the experimental duo providing the best so far.

Once again, the galaxies align for drummer extraordinaire, Chris Corsano and improv’ bluesman, Bill Orcutt.

The pair’s respective works are littered across indie music’s greatest orb.

First there’s Corsano, who provided his expertise to Bjork‘s Volta, as well as collaborating with the likes of Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Sunburned Hand Of The Man. Arguably his finest moment came when he mutilated the skins for Six Organs of Admittance‘s landmark album, School of the Flower. From there he, alongside Six Organs‘ brainchild, Ben Chasny and Sir Richard Bishop formed the psych-odyssey, Rangda.

Then there’s Orcutt. He, too, has trawled these waters, collaborating with the Sun City GirlsAlan Bishop and the above-mentioned Richard, also notoriously flitting between the free-jazz and no wave movements that have been championed by the likes of Moore and various other underground luminaries.

Like the majority of collaboration albums over the past 12 months, Made Out of Sound (Corsano‘s and Orcutt‘s follow-up to 2018’s Brace Up!) was recorded not only in different locations but on different coasts (Corsano in Ithaca, NY and Orcutt in San Francisco, CA).

The Still: Got It – “beauty in brevity”

Having held an ear to Corsano‘s wild-cat explosions from behind the skins, Orcutt fused together his vast guitar meanderings via his desktop computer.

His no-frills production technique on Made Out of Sound gives it an organic togetherness, which begs the question – does one need record studios anymore?

Perhaps an argument for another day, but either way it’s hard to argue that Made Out of Sound is very much musicianship at its peak. An album where the dull moments are nonexistent – it’s music that makes you feel voyeuristic, infiltrating some exclusive ritualistic jam session.

This glorious mess is sculptured in what can only be described as pure sonic architecture. Between Corsano‘s militant drum freak-outs and Orcutt‘s spidery arpeggios, over 29 minutes it’s a seamless adventure showcasing a telepathic virtuosity between two guns for hire.

The radiant serenade of Some Tennessee Jar sees Corsano‘s volcanic rumbles sounding like Jim White on the uppers. And the intensity doesn’t stop there, as his rag-doll swing during Man Carrying Thing feels like you are being pulled apart by a pair of blood thirsty dobermans.

Mess Esque: Dream #12 – “the essence of something special”

The jagged wig-out of the ridiculously titled How to Cook a Wolf and the galactic post-punk of Thirteen Ways of Looking and Distance of Sleep are merely specks of gold dust which comprises Made Out of Sound. So too, The Thing Itself, a beautiful fucked-up mess that we may have expected from someone like the Enablers.

It’s almost remiss to pinpoint one track on Made Out of Sound, for each of its compositions drip blood, sweat and tears into the next, creating a boundless tourism of sound far beyond those parallel universes.

The album’s title is about the only thing that makes sense here. In what is a psychedelic exploration cutting across the threshold of normality, Made Out of Sound is a translucent, hypnotic post-music pilgrimage.

Just turn it on. Turn it up. And be enthralled.

Made Out of Sound is out now via Palilalia. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

7 replies on “Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt: Made Out of Sound – “musicianship at its peak””

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