Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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75 Dollar Bill

  • Wooden Bag [Other Music, 2015] ***
  • Wood / Metal / Plastic / Pattern / Rhythm / Rock [Thin Wrist, 2016] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Wooden Bag [Other Music, 2015]
Identifying more avant, but cutting a funkier path on the longer ones ("Cuttin' Out," "Hollis") ***

Wood / Metal / Plastic / Pattern / Rhythm / Rock [Thin Wrist, 2016]
This four-track, 39-minute cassette-gone-to-heaven by young NYC experimental guitarist-multithreat Che Chen and veteran NYC weird-band drummer-percussionist Rick Brown is a strange one, and it means to be, but to someone of my peculiar interests it connected quick. The main axes are Chen's two guitars, tuned so that they generate 24 tones per octave instead of the usual 12, and a wooden box Brown found on the street and bangs for all it's worth. Although Chen denies that his brief intensive with Mauritanian master guitarist Jeiche Ould Chighaly is decisive, the thing definitely sounds somehow African even if the echoes seemed less distinct when I cued up the untethered vocals and suppler grooves of Group Inerane and Group Doueh. This purely instrumental avant-rock is more solemn, deliberate, set on its strangeness. But the way the tempo picks up two minutes into the 12.27 "Beni Said" is friendly enough for me, especially followed by the diddleybeat Brown lays under the de facto raveup "Cummins Falls" and the saxes and side percussion that thicken the 15-minute closer. Quite an up in its severe way--which is an interesting up. A-