Kim Gordon/Ikue Mori/Dj Olive Import
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Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, ex-DNA drummer/drum-machinist extraordinaire Ikue Mori, and Illbient pioneer DJ Olive embark on electro-acoustic excursions of haunting abstract beauty.
Taking a breather from the snazz that is/was Free Kitten (Miss Julie birthing Alice and teaching inner city high school, Yoshimi about 10,000 miles away and Mark Ibold aswamp in the madness that is Pavement) Sonic Youths femme-mystere has created a distinctly NEW trio of spontaneous composition and prose. Since reclaiming the electric guitar (her original instrument w/ SY) and developing a newfound post-Patty Waters free-vox technique she has enjoined her vision w/ the improvisational meta-talents of Ikue Mori (ex-drummer of no wave legends DNA - currently in a class by herself w/ other-world sampling) and DJ Olive (he of the wizardly WE, coiner of the ill term "illbient" and regarded by those in the heavy underground of post-beat turntable/drum + whatever as "the heaviest").
Together they hit the local boards throughout 1999 and created a unified concept of sound/energy dynamix. They recorded w/ engineer Wharton Tiers and mixmaster Jim ORourke for what will be the first recording on SYR not by Sonic Youth proper (a situation which will be, possibly, expanded upon). The results, which also feature the magic fingers of CIBO MATOs Yuka Honda on a track, are at once sensuous, elegant and completely blistering. This is truly the new illprovisation rising up from ground zero.
Even the most die-hard Sonic Youth fan must have tip-toed trepidatiously to his or her first listen to the band's major label releases in the 1990s. However, the releases on the band's own SYR label, while concentrating exclusively on the most experimental end of their sonic spectrum, have been consistently fascinating and varied. The first two SYR releases were the work of the core quartet, the third added Jim O'Rourke (as a semi-permanent member) and the fourth, Goodbye 20th Century, expanded the ensemble with seven guests. This disc is the first release on the label that is not by Sonic Youth per se--Kim Gordon has joined forces with DJ Olive and Ikue Mori. Mori has been a fixture of the downtown New York experimental scene for two decades and employs a sampler and a pile of electronic percussion that looks like it was soldered together from a mail-order kit. DJ Olive is one third of WE, who are the best of New York's so-called "illbient" scene. The recontextualization that the new trio allows suits Gordon very well--shorn of any need to "rock", her knotty distorted guitar textures are settled snugly amidst the whirlwind of sound from the other two and her voice bobs around like a raft on the sonic sea. There's very little in the way of conventionally structured songs here, so she can stretch out a bit with some extended vocal techniques. Often ("Neu Adult", "Lemonade"), the lyrics are spread out in a way that doesn't readily invite following them as a narrative. Other songs are a little more straightforward, as when she's hollering "Donald Duck, kill Minnie!" ("We are the Princesses"), or the more Surrealist "Paperbag/Orange Laptop" where the words are easy to understand but intriguingly difficult to make sense of. You might think that between a DJ and a drum machine operator, something resembling a groove would emerge, but Mori never does that and Olive remains equally abstract on this occasion--the two create a complex kaleidoscope of sounds with plenty of percussive chatter but no regular pulse. -Bob Bannister
Top Customer Reviews
Each song varies in its usage of these three talents; the album is full of varying degrees of drone (thanks to DJ Olive's wax tracks), paired with odd sounds and irregular rhythms and blasts (thanks to drummer Ikue Mori's avant guard/no wave-ness), and out of tune vocals singing along with muted, chunky Sonic Youth-like guitar lines. The album screeches, wafts, and dissonantly bleaches out any familiar melodies. Highlights include Cibo Matto's Yuka Honda with "Take It To the Hit," and the surprise reggae sample on "Take Me Back." In "We Are The Princesses", Kim Gordon offers an interesting set of vocals and lyrics, repeating over and over "we are the princesses" and then "donald duck will follow her! kill! kill minnie! kill minnie!" over and over, an example of how interesting and diverse this cd can be, definately a great album to own.
but this alone is not enough to ensure she stays off the hook. this is some of the ugliest, most brutal, unlistenable music that has ever been created by the sy conglomerate. her voice is hard, angular, and slashes through the dissonance as if it was just another wildly out-of-tune guitar. the lyrics are random and vague and race from her lips in fits and starts like a stuttering epileptic.
but, we are presented a truer vision of kim gordon, the artist, now that she took a night out without the boys. the facets that she demonstrates are impenetrable: this album represents how freud would tell a fairytale, stating evidence from the id as opposed to a true storyline.
while this paints an ever more fascinating portrait of kim gordon it is also very hard to digest in any setting. some passages seem entirely indefensibly and tinker just on the edge of self-parody. she is giving ammunition to her critics but, by straddling that line, she is staying true to herself and following that own strange muse locked in her head.
Most recent customer reviews
wouldn't give this five stars. Come on people! This is a terrible record. nothing gels together. kim spouts off nonesense that isn't even good nonsense. or whatever.Published on May 21 2003 by Matthew G. Taylor
Besides being a stone cold fox at the tender age of 65 and also being able to retain most of her musical relevance longer than any musician i can think of kim gordon continues to... Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2000 by Jess
After, one and a half listens (not a lot for this type of music, but i'm fast to get it often). A nice following to the "a bit too long and uneven, but still excellent"... Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2000 by Vincent Bergeron