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No Waves

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Album Review

Recorded at the 2014 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, No Waves captures Body/Head at the zenith of a prolifically creative time for the duo. As Kim Gordon and Bill Nace borrow and bend elements from their 2013 debut album, Coming Apart, as well as the Show Is Over/The Canyon EP that arrived late in 2014, they dive deeper into the vocal and guitar abstractions that made those releases so transfixing. They warm up with "Sugar Water," a showcase for their interplay that builds from limpid to scorching. Here and on the rest of No Waves, Gordon's voice is imbued with an almost bluesy quality only heightened by the harmonica that surfaces on "The Show Is Over." Surrounded by spectral feedback and slashing guitars, it sounds equally earthy and unearthly while adding new dimensions to Body/Head's catharsis. Even when Gordon and Nace touch on two of Coming Apart's highlights on "Abstract/Actress," their commitment to making their body of work a living document remains: the searing 23-minute finale unites the moods and sounds they explored before — including that improbable harmonica — into an unpredictable but satisfying conclusion. Though Body/Head reject the notion of definitive versions of their songs, No Waves might be the album that captures their spirit to its fullest. Equally taut and flowing, this is improvisation at its instinctive best.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Following the end of Sonic Youth, one of the projects Kim Gordon embarked on was Body/Head, a collaboration with respected experimental rock guitarist Bill Nace, who has also played with Chris Corsano as Vampire Belt, as well as with Jessica Rylan, Paul Flaherty, and Thurston Moore. The duo's free-flowing noise rock offered a more streamlined, updated version of Gordon's no wave roots and debuted in 2011 with Fractured Orgasm, a limited-edition cassette released by Ecstatic Peace. The following year,...
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No Waves, Body/Head
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