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thurston moore - Sensitive / Lethal
After the amazing 'Trees Outside The Academy' - his second album of solo songwriting - Thurston Moore takes a major look back into the noise arena with Sensitive/Lethal, an incredible three-part study in raw sound matter, utilising electronics and both electric and acoustic guitars. It's Thurston's unplugged activities that probably prompted the otherwise entirely ironic title 'Sensitive' for the first piece: buried under a maelstrom of extravagant feedback and yelping oscillator modulations a mantra-like open dreadnought chord lays down a foundation of clean, crisp steel string sounds, jangling excitedly like the beginnings of some unholy raga. After twenty-two minutes of this oddly beguiling punishment, the tone changes for 'Lonesome', a magnificent four-minute blast of stereo feedback cycles, sounding not unlike certain interpretations of Steve Reich's swinging mic piece 'Penduluum' - Sonic Youth's own version on Goodbye 20th Century springing most obviously to mind. Finally, 'Lethal' is a markedly less easily digested production, spewing forth analogue noise in all its myriad colours, with pure voltage controlled carnage in one ear and lacerating guitar in the other. There's still plenty of detail spread across the stereo field to make the piece an immersive listen though; after all, this isn't authored by just any old bedroom-bound tape jockey, but rather one of the founding fathers of noise rock and the modern American underground, so frankly it'd be surprising if this wasn't one of the very best noise albums of the year so far. Which it is, by the way.