Rangda/Dead C Split

Rangda/Dead C

Sitting down to type out something about this short split from these two legends of improvisational noise rock is a bit daunting. We can start with the facts, who if you are a reader of our blog could probably recite in your sleep. Rangda is as close to a super-group as experimental music will get. It is made up of Sir Richard Bishop (of Sun City Girls and solo acoustic guitar slay-ance), Ben Chasney (main brain behind Six Organs of Admittance) and Chris Corasno (drummer for the stars including Bjork, Jim O'Rourke, etc). Dead C, on the other hand is one of the weirder groups to emerge from the legendary New Zealand imprint Flying Nun Records.

This split is comprised as you would probably expect it. Rangda donates a 12 + minute lightly improvised piece centered around Bishop's and Corasno's twisting and turining guitar licks. The piece is a meditative and totally disarming for the first 1/3 of the piece with Bishop's guitar lording over a brood of Desert Blues/Middle Eastern inspired riffs. Corasno's drums really don't announce themselves as anything of force until about seven minutes in when things get a bit more out and a bit more noisy. Then he jumps in with full-force, expounding on some pretty heavy riffage as Bishop and Chasney's guitars run riot over the scales and sweat out buckets of holy water over their fretboards. This passage is an intense one, but totally deserved and completely deveasting.

I remember my first encounter with Dead C. I was buying a guy's CD collection off him (I assume the frumpy, middle-aged woman standing uncomfortably and eying me with distrust was his wife who made him sell off his ace collection of 90's noise rock compact discs) and I mentioned I really liked Sonic Youth. Based on his recommendation I walked out with a copy of Tusk under my arm. The link from Sonic Youth to Dead C is a bit tenuous. Both played noisy, beautiful rock music but had opposite trajectories. Sonic Youth started out more free-form and abrasive and eventually picked up melody and played song-songs as they matured. Dead C, however, started backwards they began playing more song-driven (albeit buried under a shellac of abrasive feedback) and then began playing more out and free as they progressed.

Dead C's contributions are a hearkening back to those early days. "EUSA Kills" starts with some sludgy, glacially heavy riffs that recall early Melvins or any Southern Sludge group with a blasphemous band name and then moves to "Tomorrow", a drunken trumpet solo on two guitars that sound like they are repeatedly being shoved through a metal fence. "Heaven" with its 4-4 back beat and pure two guitar noise attack is the stand out track, something that would not be out of place in Sonic Youth's early catalogue. I guess there is a bit of a linkage there.

When I saw this split in our inbox I freaked out a bit. Mostly because I misinterpeted the / as an indicator of a collaboration. My expectations were tempered a bit when I heard the album. All tracks are as ace as expected, but for a fleeting moment I caught vision of what a Rangda/Dead C split would be like, and I wept for I saw the apocolypse.

Ryan H.

July 29th, 2013