Friday, May 18, 2007

GOD WILLING "Normal Pool" (I Just Live Here)

God Willing’s Ren Schofield pours beer on his head. It’s a kind of trade mark. His live performances play on the tension between potential chaos and total pandemonium. It is for this reason that I can imagine people might overlook the fact that Schofield’s recorded material is totally unique and really fucking good. This double tape, “Normal Pool,” betrays the softer, stonier side of God Willing. Seemingly fueled more by pizza and weed than by beer and adrenaline, the first cassette, a c15, is a “psychedelic guitar” jam. However, it would be an amazing feat to recognize the sound source as a guitar unless told so beforehand. The instrument is denatured by layers of warm fuzz and the attack of the pick is disguised in such a way that we hear only the ringing of strings. The actual sound is more like a pulsating drone, interrupted by swells of crackling distortion. The whole thing has a very calm, expansive feel-- the scope of the piece is like that of a wall-sized landscape painting, with incredible attention to detail. The second cassette is a c32, built from super crunchy, totally blown out, four-track feedback manipulation. Schofield avoids obvious balls-out harshness for a subtler performance. Low frequency oscillations are clipped square by overloaded magnetic tape while a satisfying crackle churns around them. Though, in a sense, more traditional, this cassette use the signifiers of Harsh Noise to drag itself into the sound world of it’s accompanying tape to become a completely coherent release. (Also: “Normal Pool” is totally sold out, but God Willing’s new 3”CD, “Awkward Tub,” on EMR Records, is very similar and fucking incredible.)