review

Textura

Three:Four Records complements its strong compilation Err On the Good Side with two handsomely packaged ten-inch vinyl releases. The split discs conjoin two guitar-oriented drone practitioners, Paris-based :take: and Chicago combo White/Lichens, on the first volume, and a pair of two-man laptop-guitar outfits, Barge Recordings duo The Fun Years and .cut featuring Gibet, on the second--both releases well worth your attention.

The second volume pairs five short tracks by The Fun Years with two by .cut featuring Gibet. Listeners familiar with The Fun Years' recent full-lengths, Life-sized Psychoses and Baby, It's Cold Inside, will know what to expect from their contribution to the split volume and they won't be disappointed: Recht's baritone guitar lines smothered in dense, heavily-textured masses generated by Sparks from eroded vinyl, manipulated found sounds, and decaying drones. On most of the tracks, Recht's guitar sounds generally blend into the overall sound mass, which makes the clear separation between guitar and accompanying sounds in "We Might Just Have What You Need" so ear-catching. Not that we'd forget necessarily but the side ends with a voice stuttering the group's name during the brief outro "We Don't Need No Fucking Theme Songs."

On the B side, the oddly-named .cut featuring Gibet (formed in 2003, the group pairs Montreal resident Albérick aka .cut on laptop with Lyon-based Gibet on guitar) first plunges the listener headlong into the nightmarish "Up the River Da Nang...," a powerful sonic evocation of the psychosis and trauma associated with the Vietnam War experience and the madness personified by Colonel Kurtz in both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now. Molten slabs of scarred guitar lines breathe fire alongside shimmering fields of tremolo guitars, with the elements melding together inseparably as the piece grows ever more violent and deranged. The duo's second piece, "On the Next Morning I Woke Up and Realized I Was Only Part of the Factory," is less disturbing in intent and concludes the volume with a comparatively soothing stream of echoing guitar lines.