JOHN DUNCAN

YEAH

2014 iDEAL117 John Duncan and Jim O’Rourke.
Black vinyl LP released by iDEAL.
Side A: recorded and mixed in 1993 by John Duncan and Jim O’Rourke at Christoph Heemann’s studio in Aachen. Final mix by Jim O’Rourke in Tokyo.
Side B: STAY ALIVE recorded live with Oren Ambarchi and Joe Talia on 9 March 2013 at SuperDeluxe, Tokyo; mixed by Joe Talia.

The inevitably momentous wholeness constitutes a high point in both artists’ discographies, sounding as modern as yesterday. Friendly advice: let this piece resonate loudly from the speakers.

If the first half symbolizes a journey through the darkest aspects of the subconscious, “Stay Alive” is an out-and-out cathartic ritual. The incitement is barely whispered at the outset; then, as Talia and Ambarchi increase their contribution via metaphysical sonorities and irregular drumming, the man from Wichita enters a condition of preternatural despair. The progressively louder screaming literally strips him of his normal vocal tone, gradually replaced by a hoarsely yelping reiteration. In the concluding instants after the burnout, near-inaudible instrumental touches escort us to silence. A parallel with Duncan’s earlier experiments with Reichian hyperventilation applies, as far as balance between anguished transmittance and individual purification is concerned.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes


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