Hurray For The Riff Raff - Best New Track
In composing music, SUMAC opts for a process of simultaneous construction and dismantlement. Long-form rock based structures are distended to the point of erosion, reiterated in continually alternating sequences, and plied with extramusical implements of chaos and tonal abstraction. Through the practice of psychophysical exertion and sensorial disorientation the music becomes a tangible projection of the players underlying emotions and spirit.
Furthering this dynamic approach, SUMAC has invited similarly like-minded artists to reconfigure and deconstruct pieces from their latest album What One Becomes. Samuel Kerridge, Bleed Turquoise, Kevin Drumm and Japan’s ENDON offer up beautifully bent interpretations of the original work. The results range from impossibly dense and perpetually ascending psych-noise blowouts, to subdued passages of subtly curdled drones punctuated by disembodied vocal excretions.
Though stylistically differentiated from the source material, all four tracks posses a parallel predilection for combining combustable atmospherics and emotionally penetrative musical maneuvers.
Oxbow began as a recording project. In 1988 bandmates Eugene Robinson (vocals, lyrics) and Niko Wenner (guitar, bass, keyboards, music) wrote songs with an approach decidedly different from their band at the time Whipping Boy. Wenner concocted an underlying musical architecture for his abrasive-then-plangent music, through use of arch form and musical palindromes unusual in the noise music genre the band was often placed. This organizing structure later grew to encompass the second Oxbow recording as well, and drew relationships between the two. For his part Robinson changed his vocal approach to include in-the-studio improvisations and extensive vocal multi-tracking. This first record, titled Fuckfest has drumming split evenly between Greg Davis and Tom Dobrov. Dan Adams (bass in Oxbow, drums in Whipping Boy) joined immediately on completion of the first recording. All but Davis and Dobrov were at various times members of Whipping Boy, Wenner and Dobrov had been bandmates in the hardcore band Grim Reality Dobrov departed after the band's 1995 European tour, but performed with Davis as guest second drummer for the studio recording of "Shine (Glimmer)" on the 2002 album "An Evil Heat."
The first album from Oxbow, Fuckfest, was released in 1989. It was described as "one of the most unique first statements in modern avant-rock" by Rock-A-Rolla magazine, "staggeringly eclectic" by Simon Reynolds, and "a fierce, rigorous album that challenges almost every preconception rock listeners might have" by Allmusic. Fuckfest was followed by King of the Jews (1991) and then by two Steve Albini-recorded albums: Let Me Be a Woman (1995) and Serenade in Red (1996–97), the latter featuring guest vocals from Marianne Faithfull. An Evil Heat followed in 2002 on Neurosis' Neurot Recordings label. Oxbow's 2007 album The Narcotic Story was named the number one album in the "Best of 2007" by Rock-A-Rolla magazine, and was listed with three other bands' albums in the nomination of Joe Chiccarelli as 'Producer of the Year' at the 50th Grammy Awards.