Thurston Moore - Sensitive/lethal
"Blessed are the noise musicians/for they shall go down in/history./way.way. down."
So it says inside the sleeve of Moore's latest. Last year's "Trees Outside The Academy," his first solo release outside Sonic Youth, was a wonder. Building off of the droning noise he virtually invented with that band (Lee Ranaldo was always in step, just a little more contemplative), it also showed that he had learned his lessons from playing with noise masters and absorbing the history of 20th century experimental music, as chronicled by SY themselves on their prestige label.
"Sensitive/Lethal," then, is a deepening and a showing off of how a godfather gives props to his own teachers. There is even a pic of Johnny Winters on the back cover, to give nod to the blues, a genre often overlooked as a source for noise attitude and intent.
Thurston focuses his attention on specific themes on each of the three tracks, with "Sensitive" being the most appealing to guitar fans, since it features both acoustic and electric monster riffs and oddly jangly bursts. "Lonesome" is a more programmatic piece, mainly manipulations of tone and frequency. "Lethal" is pure noise, but one that also oscillates, creating colors and frames for both feedback and occasionally guitar-driven motifs.
If "Sensitive/Lethal" surprises some Sonic Youth fans, they haven't been listening. Thurston Moore, moreso than on his first solo record, explores the past and present of noise and noise's effect on environment. Like his band, Moore is all about looking back, forward and up all at once.
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