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Boomkat Product Review:
Mexico City’s wide-scoped Umor Rex label present a whorl of noisy texturhythm, cosmic synth streaks and freeform avant-rock from Chicago’s Good Willsmith.
Maintaining a pursuit of live, structured improvisation - no overdubs - Things Our Bodies Used To Have is the trio of Doug Kaplan, Maxwell Allison and Natalie Chami a.k.a. Good Willsmith’s 3rd album for Umor Rex and perhaps the strongest testament to their supple dexterity and mutating musical vision.
“Like Good Willsmith’s LP “The Honeymoon Workbook” (Umor Rex 2014) before it, “Things Our Bodies Used to Have” captures a live take of a set whose structural benchmarks were locked into place over repeated performances on tour. On the album’s A side, instances of a recurring theme played by the whole trio bookend a series of sketches in which one member takes the lead role while the others support: Allison loops and mangles a cassette tape’s playback before streaking into the red with the peals of a bird call; Kaplan rips into a labyrinthine guitar solo that evokes the tie-dye chromatic fantasies of Jerry Garcia and the bottomless reverb of Keiji Haino; Chami pounds out a lattice of cyborg wails and pulses from her Korg MS20 while she laces her own screams into the chaos.
The album’s second half sinks into an intensifying trudge through a swamp of pitch black synthesis and churning bass tones. Electronic tambura drones and whistling oscillators creep into the mix alongside garbled voices borrowed from thrifted tapes and LPs, each contributing an anxious monologue to the dirge. While Allison’s melodies chime over Chami’s elegiac chords, she layers her voice into a towering emotional climax that merges with Kaplan’s tremolo picked guitar into a gale of static that sweeps the trio’s shared seance back into the darkness.”