Brace Up! by Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt; Bandcamp Link: Brace Up!
Number 22 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
Chris Corsano is a drummer who lives in the North Eastern United States and Bill Orcutt is a guitarist who lives in, or near, San Francisco. Chris Corsano has a diverse recording history, from Björk (Volta) to the skronkiest free improvisation with Paul Flaherty and a little of every thing in between. Bill Orcutt has been mining the black seams at the edges of punk, folk, and improvisation, for the better part of 30 years, first gaining notice as the guitarist in the band Harry Pussy.
Some of Mr Orcutt’s records can be contemplative, edging along the sort of work that John Fahey did, reinterpreting American popular and folk traditions.
Brace Up! is not that sort of work.
Mr Corsano’s playing is almost always propulsive, sounding like an octopus has been dosed with meth and let loose in the pantry.
They complement each other well, each pushing the other further than they might go on their own, but in different directions.
Corsano keeps Orcutt skittering, barely letting him get a footing before taking off with another idea. Orcutt pulls Corsano down a bit, making him dig more repetition than he usually does.
It’s a great album, though, obviously, not one to put on if you’re looking to relax and take a nap.
Given the large Brotzmann-esque expressions of Rempis’ Ballister, it is interesting to listen to this album of quiet, small gestures. Or, well, quieter, smaller gestures.
Even percussion dervish Corsano keeps it on the restrained side of free.
Quite pleasant and enjoyable. The most interesting part is probably trying to identify which instrument is making which squeal, thump, or whirr. Plus, good song titles like, “Stand Up for Bastard” (Woo! Bonus points for King Lear Allusion!) and “Swinging’ Apoplexy”.