Years in the making, the latest album from Bill Orcutt realizes his vision for a suite for four guitars, with himself as the spoke for the dizzying set. Where some Orcutt albums embrace the elemental, malleable mindset of improv —most especially his works with Chris Corsano — this is a more measured approach. The pieces are short and clockwork counterbalanced, shredded vignettes that gnash against one another with electric teeth. Each piece chews on a theme, crumples it, smooths it against the concrete and lets it breathe through the speakers. Though its a modern record, there’s a sense of classical countenance to it. Orcutt treats his pieces like amp-fried cantatas, a quick promenade around the dance floor with ozone on its breath.
Even with the academic approach, and accompanying 80-page documentation of the inner workings of the pieces, there’s still no sense in trying to tie Orcutt down. When the scorched tones hit the speakers, they still reverberate through every filling in your head, every copper wire in the house. Mathematical precision can’t temper the acidic burn that only Orcutt can bring to a piece. The exponential effect of stacking of him in four positions only lets the caustic burn run deeper into the brain. He’s everywhere at once, whittling at the lower lobes of the brain, burning the flesh, and pulling the carpet from underneath your feet. There’s record is fraught, but as it runs to a close, there’s no shaking the feeling of having been filed clean and set straight.
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