By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Chris Corsano & Ben Chasny/Paul Metzger
Can psychedelia, known for its excess, go minimalist? Evoking an LSD trip in black and white, Chris Corsano and Ben Chasny (of the experimental psych act Six Organs of Admittance) split an LP with TVBC guitarist Paul Metzger, and find enough wiggle room within their limited instrumentation to shake the Fillmore.
Drummer Chris Corsano spent the past year splitting his psyche between complementing saxophonists Paul Flaherty and Wally Shoup's jagged blasts with skittish scrapes of cymbals; and easing up with loose-limbed brushes and multi-tiered fills, accompanying vocalist/guitarist Chasny's journeyman acid folk and cracking psych's cosmic egg. The duo originally convened for Six Organs' School of the Flower (Drag City), which unfurls brightly like a score to a Technicolor nature film. On their 16-minute side of the new split release, Corsano and Chasny offer "Worm Confesses," a song originally broadcast on Cambridge, Massachusetts, radio station WMBR, which sounds like a long sketch of Flower's sinewy title track. Corsano's controlled, rolling toms follow Chasny's grainy, reverberating mumblings, gradually escalating into a series of tribal rumblings, as drenched cymbals are interlaid with his octopus-like swings.
While Corsano and Chasny ape each other with frenetic speeds and jittery feedback, Paul Metzger's "August," an improvisation on modified guitar, fiddles with the high and low ends of an instrument rigged with chiming music box parts and balanced only with stringed tambura. The Minneapolis-based musician recently overhauled a banjo with sitar pick-ups for a similarly spiritualized effect. Here, he flows between folksy lament, minimal harmony, and a trickle of objects to the floor. Intentional or not, it adds percussion. Metzger is the right co-conspirator for the release, even if there's no interaction between the musicians. If only he could reach around to the flip side of the vinyl and add strong picking to the duo's fuzzy miasma. Instead, Metzger closely echoes Derek Bailey's sweetly obscured Ballads—re-arranging familiar melodies into a study, a negative proof of a color portrait.