Boomkat Product Review:
C/Site boss Stefan Christensen assembles a cast of regular collaborators to accurately bring to life his musical universe, refracting folk, psych and blues forms thru an experimental noise framework >> one for fans of Zelienople, High Aura'd, Mikami Kan or Neil Young's seminal "Dead Man" OST.
Performing in noise trio Center and psych rock sludgers Headroom, New Haven's Stefan Christensen has long been a central node in New England's experimental landscape. On "Cheap Things", he gets help from plenty of friends and collaborators, many of whom he's released on his C/Site label: David Shapiro, Kyrssi Battalene, Ian McColm and Rick Omonte turn up for instrumental support, and Mountain Movers' John Miller handles the recording on two of the songs. It's this community spirit that sits at the heart of the album, mapping out Christensen's deeply collaborative world that's born from New England's notorious experimental scene.
He began the album back in 2018, but finished recording in lockdown using home studio techniques and tape loops to augment the instrumental recordings. But the tracks here link back to Christensen's earliest work - title track 'Cheap Things' was originally featured on his 2015 solo debut. That track was written as a memorial to a friend who died from an overdose, and when another friend died in similar circumstances in lockdown, Christensen was moved to revisit the song. Here it's blown out and melancholy, with jangling acoustic guitar chords echoing over a persistent organ drone that grows into crashing feedback.
This sets the mood for the rest of the album, as fuzzy psych textures and blues forms reverberate around inverted song structures, blown out drums and the faint, hopeful jangle of folk. 'All of the Time' sounds 8-track tape sessions from a Slint Neil Young cover session played backwards, while 'Singlemindedness' is moody and windswept, like desert rock reshaped for a basement in deepest, darkest Connecticut. Emotional, charged and bruised music.