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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sandy Ewen/Damon Smith/Weasel Walter - untitled (UgEXPLODE, 2012) ****

By Ed Pettersen

You know the old saying “be careful what you wish for”?  Well, in this case that wish come true is a really, REALLY good thing.

Last month I wrote a review of an album (North of Blanco) featuring Jaap Blonk with Sandy Ewen, Damon Smith and Chris Cogburn and wondered out loud what it would sound like if the musicians recorded without Mr. Blonk (who I admire and respect greatly I should add).  A few weeks later Mr. Smith contacted me via Facebook and offered this recording.  It is fantastic. Wild, broad-reaching, experimental, unabashed and exciting it boldly goes…aw, you know.  Seriously, this is a great recording.

Ms. Ewen has a unique style in which she mainly places the guitar on her lap and plays with found instruments; a metal bristle from a street sweeper, what looks like a dog’s hair brush, etc., and rarely employs pedals preferring to go directly into her Fender amp.  Mr. Smith also employs unorthodox techniques mostly involving playing behind strings with his bow and scraping above and behind the bridge but is also a skilled accompanist for many artists and Mr. Walter, in place of Mr. Cogburn, is not your father’s percussionist by any stretch of the imagination but it works on all levels obviously because they have a great deal of respect for one another and respond keenly.  No overdubs were employed and the only other sounds were field recording triggered by a laptop in real time.
I love this kind of imaginative improvisation.  This recording could serve as the best and most terrifying horror film soundtrack you’ll ever hear (though with a wink).   Highly recommended.

More on Sandy Ewen et al with a live video performance here.


Arcturus said...

Sandy, solo: