This week at “Sonic Reducer,” Weekly Alibi takes a listen to the produce of local label LM Duplication, a recording outfit headquartered in the Duke City and run by local for realz rocanrol luminaries, Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes. Not only do those two make some infinitely diggable jams, their label is responsible for birthing some of the most ear-pleasing and brain-damaging tuneage available on planet Earth. And it’s coming right outta Burque, dang it!
This album appeared in mid-Nov. 2017 at the LM Duplication Bandcamp site. But it is actually the predecessor recording to a work called The Subversive Nature of Kindness. That album dropped in Nov. 2017, too. On (S/T), recorded in February 2016, the attractively avant-garde percussion plus chamber trio (Peggy Ghorbani, Sarah Gautier and Thor Harris) perfect their engagement with minimalist rhythmics that suggest perpetual nocturnes lashed to transparent yet elusive melodies. Usually, music that depends on the marimba, vibes and/or xylophone for its main effect comes off as jazz or as dangerously twee in my book, but here, the artists approach something stronger, wiser—artfully engaging, as in “Jordan’s Song” or “Medieval.” Harris’ clarinet work on “Crusades” has a rich tonality that is particularly evocative, symbolizing the scope of the recording with its pure, recorded purposefulness.
This is what happens when worlds collide. John Dieterich is the guitarist for Deerhoof, widely considered one of the most important avant-rock bands of the past 20 years. Jeremy Barnes was the percussionist for Neutral Milk Hotel, widely considered one of the most important avant-rock bands of the past 20 years. Wait a minute … What happens when you get these two geniuses together? They both live in Burque after all. Here the result is The Coral Casino, a collaboration guided by principles of anonymity and improvisation. What happened next is complicated, but it shows how two artists, deeply grounded in the foundations of rocanrol—as well as pop compositional techniques and postmodern, Cage-influenced noise making—can rock the fuck out for all 11 tracks.
Here’s an album from the LM Duplication catalogue that features two members of Calexico—Naïm Amor and John Covertino—exploring Western music through the lens of experimentalism. Jangling, ghostly, entirely reliant on references to a mythical past where cowboys whistled lonely tunes and dragged their spurs like china cymbals through the mud of life, where bearded saloon players rolled up their sleeves and placed their hands on jaggedly out of tune pianos to make sense of an otherwise senseless life, this album has an palpable sadness going for it. That despair feels authentic, much in the same way Al Swerignen’s speeches on Deadwood feel like the dust and wind and shuffling of black boots. On that note, try out “Fortune Diggers” or “Before We Go” for size, hombre.