Nailing down the genre of Sonic Youth free excursions could take up a book, and honestly, Brian Turner covers a lot of the feelings that come up with In/Out/In inside the accompanying notes to the band’s new LP of archival material. For heads there’s always been more than a few sides to the band — alt icons, experimental shepherds, psychedelic surgeons — the connective tissue between musical worlds. For some in the ‘90s the band pushed aside the overgrowth on free music, music concrete, noise, and psychedelia and showed a path forward outside of the typical escape routes out of suburban sprawl. As the ‘00s crested the band leaned further into these tributaries, especially with the SYR releases, an underbelly to the band that not all would embrace, but others would find key to understanding the SY’s greater sound.
The works on In/Out/In ably fall along the axis between the heady psychedelia, long bubbling beneath their taut riffs and the noise scorch that would haunt their more accessible works. The album brings both qualities out of the background and into sharp and lacerating focus. Treading from ’00, ’08, and ’10 the band finds a common thread between practice space recordings and studio outtakes that handle the knife-edge of conscious crumble. Chewing on asbestos riffs and sulfured squall, the group lashes subconscious “Dark Star” energy to Fushitsusha mind-flay for a record that, despite its disparate origins, comes across as a purposeful tumble into raw nerve experimentation. What also reveals as the record takes shape, is the group enjoying moments of release, having fun while carving the creosote into tessellating torrents. Three Lobed caps its 20th Anniversary edition in style.
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