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ESP Organism

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Album Review

New York City trio (via Washington, D.C.) Brown Wing Overdrive are a hand-in-glove fit for the Tzadik label's Lunatic Fringe series. Their label debut, ESP Organism, is a complete flip to wig city combination of warped electronics, Jew's harp, processed banjo, mystic shamanic chants, and percussion and found objects, all wrapped together in a systemic manner. They place noise against dynamic, organization against improvisational chaos, and these seemingly disparate elements are glued together with an irreverent yet healthy sense of humor. These guys are musical outsiders by choice, and these ten tracks showcase all different sides of that equation. There are moments here of pure screaming glee, such as on album opener "Acupunctured," where a repetitive chant, an out of tune banjo, digital delays, and woven noise and percussion instruments become their own animated sound universe. Elsewhere, on "Eye Slew," the power electronics become somewhat shrill and frequencies in the upper range of the tolerance level are irritating before they give way to frequency shifts and changes as feedback and sine wave generators bend and twist pitches until they become something akin to space aliens making body function noises — yes, it is funny. Still elsewhere, on the brief "Lonely Geist Heist," treated duck calls, guttural chanting, feedback, and loops collide in a mantra of absurdity and rank obnoxiousness. Needless to say, Brown Wing Overdrive's "music" isn't for everyone, but there are some adventurous souls who will no doubt take great delight in being assaulted by it for 46 minutes — laughing their asses off all the while. What the album really accomplishes, however, is to scratch at the scab that covers curiosity as to what this would be like live, because the album seemingly only hints at the genuine sonic madness that this trio might be able to accomplish in a performance setting.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Brown Wing Overdrive's fractured, experimental music feeds off of found-object percussion, manic banjo, clattering jaw harp drones, electronic beats, ringing alarm clocks, and quite possibly the kitchen sink as well. The group officially began when Chuck Bettis and Derek Morton met in Washington, D.C. Both part of the city's experimental music community, Bettis and Morton joined forces and began working as a duo. Mikey IQ Jones came aboard in 2007, adding his jaw harp and percussion vision to the...
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ESP Organism, Brown Wing Overdrive
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