[sic] Magazine

Body/Head – Coming Apart

Photography; film; dance – art forms all given the appropriate context. Music too, but in this case more specifically sound, for Body/Head ( Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and her friend Bill Nace ‘s challenging electro-noise/guitar project) is decidedly short on traditional “song”. Ever wondered what the most abrasive end of her canon might sound like stripped of all melody? The brutal Coming Apart is certainly one possibility.

Drawing squarely then from Gordon’s artistic background (the one-sheet comes replete with the musings of a professor from the Department of Art History at Columbia University no less), Body/Head is a raw concentration of abstract style at the point the conventional disintegrates into the experimental. Coming Apart is thus far from beyond comprehension. There’s undeniable substance here, but you’ve got to work for it.

Gordon’s monotonous vocal, for example, is run through her guitar amp and then again through a series of effects pedals. In places it intoxicates. In others, her primal yelping grates. Drawn-out passages of repetitive improvisation, not to mention two huge 10+ minute closers, push the LP over the hour mark. What’s to differentiate these jams from others that must be assumed to litter the cutting room floor in the tens if not hundreds? Cherry-picking the stream-of-conscious is a curious concept in itself. What can be inferred from the relationship between Gordon and Nace’s dual guitars and this specific running order? That’s up to you.

Just as there’s a correlation between Art and its audience (between the Body and the Head, if you will), so too is there one between Coming Apart ‘s meandering simplicity and its scorching feedback. Untamed howls and dissonant crunches are sequenced next to ambient palate cleansers. Fragments of song reverberate in tense strumming and static hiss only then to be annihilated by single droning notes. Off-mic production adds meditative distance to earlier textures while later statements are left to crackle and spark like snippets of degraded sound-check left for forensic audio-techs to piece back together and interpret.

Coming Apart may be confrontational – it inhabits a special space that the uninitiated may deem intolerable even – but Gordon and Nace’s throb of industry is merely something to lock horns with and to pit your wits against. Gordon in particular may seem disembodied and disinterested but in reality it’s easy to conceive that, given her recent history, she’s prowling, sounding out her friends and adversaries … as well as her next move.

~Coming Apart is released the 16th September 2013 on Matador .~