75 Dollar Bill
NY duo 75 Dollar Bill meld an obvious love of Tuareg guitar twines, desert electro-blues and the kind of Japanese broken boogie noise that’s getting fewer and further between these days. Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock builds four pieces into towering walls of drone and snakes of guitar winding through desolate alleyways of percussion. They’ve been studying up their Ethiopiques, feasting on Arabic modality and pinning both to a dirty boogie beat that gores the heart of dance out of a ragged and frantic trance. The big step here is that Che Chen and Rick Brown are no longer alone in their excavation of the psychic heartbeat at the center of the Earth. For this record they’ve brought on a wealth of collaborators, Cheryl Kingan on baritone and alto saxes, Andrew Lafkas on contrabass, Karen Waltuch on viola, Rolyn Hu on trumpet and Carey Balch on floor tom.
The menagerie of sound adds to the chaos and clatter of their ragged stomp and its definitely the puzzle piece they’ve been looking for. Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock is euphoric in its search for the knife edge between noise and nuance. Chen’s guitars are brittle and bruised, sounding like metal twisting over on itself time and time again. Brown, for his part, finds rhythm wherever it lies, using a wooden crate to create a cavernous thud that’s omnipresent on the album and working his way through an arsenal of shakers and beaded rhythm sticks for a sound that’s organic in its street band aesthetic. In the end, the band has hammered all of their moving pieces into the shape of a record that can’t help but feel soulful, ferocious and raw.
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