Rangda – False Flag

January 01, 1970

(Drag City)

 

www.dragcity.com

 

A jaw-dropping, landmark sort of record, False Flag documents the all-but
unrehearsed collaboration of three exceptional musicians – Sir Richard Bishop
of Sun City Girls, Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance and Chris Corsano of
multiple, much-admired free jazz outfits. Bishop and Chasny share a grounding
in guitar blues, an openness to non-Western influences (more Bishop than Chasny
admittedly) and a fascination with the more freeform peripheries of
instrumental psychedelia. Corsano is, quite simply, one of the best drummers
working right now, standing in more or less the same relation to ordinary beat
keepers as Jackson Pollock to the guy who paints your house. The three of them
talked for years, apparently, about working together, and finally got their
schedules to match up for a one-off improvised show in Seattle, followed by
three days of recording with Scott Colburn. This record, six tracks in all, builds
on that first meeting of the minds (and bodies and instruments) in Seattle. It is
alternatingly bruising and serene, harsh and liquidly beautiful – and so
beautifully structured, overall, that it’s hard to believe it came together so
intuitively.

 

This disc opens with “Waldorf Hysteria”, an onslaught of
crazed surf guitar, Dick Dale in extremity by the sound of it, which is rapidly
swallowed by a maelstrom of tumultuous drumming. Both guitarists move at warp
speed during this brief track, frantically seeking dissonances in the way their
sprays and forays intersect with one another. “Bull Lore,” next up, is
statelier and more measured, its winding guitar lines battered, periodically,
by onrushes of pounded drums. “Fist Family” plays with extended conflicts of
notes, its siren-ish guitar lines colliding in the disc’s harshest, most
bracing statement. “Sarcophagi”, by contrast, is all ease and slow grace, its
hanging tones recalling Chasny’s most lyrical compositions or certain pieces by
Loren Mazzacane Connors. Another blisterer – the aptly named “Serrated Edges” –
intervenes between this and “Plain of Jars,” the disc’s other meditative
exploration. This closing track is too short, even at 15 minutes duration. It
creates a tranquil, sunlit space, full of the vertiginous runs and scales of
Television at its most daring, though lovelier by half.

 

Throughout, close listeners will hear the sound of three
minds communicating, sometimes calmly in sync, other times manically striving
and competing. It’s hard to imagine what further practice and familiarity could
add to this enterprise. You almost wonder whether the raw discovery of the
process is part of the appeal.  

 

Standout Tracks: “Plain of Jars”
“Sarcophagi” “Waldorf Hysteria” JENNIFER
KELLY

 

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