Music Reviews

Artist: Ed Osborn (@)
Title: Stone North
Format: CD
Label: Estuary (@)
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with Ed Osborn's work, but he is currently on the faculty of the Visual Arts Department at Brown University and has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, and Arts International. He uses modified electric guitar, bowed 'electric skis' (yeah ' I'll bet you haven't heard of that one), ebow, and real-time processing. Sounds promising. We kick off with 'In Memoriam Elisha Blakeman & Tabitha Babbitt,' with just over five minutes of guitar improvisation and heavy drone. Here is where we get to hear electric skis; 'monochords built from skis are laid flat and bowed using another pair of skis.' I found this to be interesting, but a bit slow moving for my tastes. Next, the album takes a turn or the better with 'Guitar Mechanical,' which is some serious guitar abuse. My wife thought that something was wrong with the player, which is always a good sign. But this is someone who is actually playing the guitar, so there is skill on display here, not just destruction. Still, everything is cut up and overdriven for maximum distortion. Osborn continues his assault on your ears with 'Stone North,' which is really heavy on the dissonance, making it a bit hard to listen to at times. The squalling guitar drones slowly shift between different levels of coherence and dissonance, keeping it interesting and engaging but always unrelenting. Make no mistake about it ' this is music that refuses to blend in to the background. It will have your complete, undivided attention. File this with some of Fear Falls Burning's noisier outings. This album weighs in at around 43 minutes and limited to 300 copies.

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