Various Artists

Dead Ceo

This CD is a document of the North Carolina experimental scene. Before I heard it, I didn’t even know that North Carolina had an experimental scene! But after hearing this, I know that them thar hills hold some precious musical talent.

For the most part, this comp focuses in on the improvisational side of experimentalism. We have Glotadragon offering up a melodic bit of dual guitar vs. drums improv, while Beatless shows aptitude with the prepared piano. The third track is a more conventional, jazzed up improv piece. The fourth track is Woody Sullender, and sounds a bit like the John Fahey I’ve heard, droney guitar melodicism that is eventually accompanied by a folksy acoustic guitar. Zuerichten play with their powerbooks without making too much of a mess, and are accompanied by a sound source that I can’t identify, but sounds very percussive. Silica Gel makes a tape piece that is behind some odd scraping and screeching; it’s OK, but it’s also the weakest piece on the CD. Next come the Comas who have a song that could be a conventional song if the guitars weren’t so…so…off. “Rank Dashiki” is a nice, noisy guitar and drum bit that gets mighty chaotic near the end. Ivanovich play a lovely bit of lyrical guitar improvisation that is easily the highlight of the CD for me. The Micro-East collective sounds starts out sounding like Organum and ends up sounding like a high school marching band gone horribly bad, and in consequence, very good. Repetophile have a piece full of recontextualized records and strange soundage. Jim Lee’s piece is a field recording of birds and natural stuff. Glockenspiel ends it with a loud, noisy guitar feedback-a-thon.

This is an excellent compilation of music that makes me wonder why I haven’t heard of any of these people before.

Dead Ceo, P.O. Box 592, Carrboro, NC 27510

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