Bill Nace - Through a Room Music Album Reviews

Bill Nace - Through a Room Music Album Reviews
On his second solo album for Drag City, the Philadelphia guitarist continues to develop his singular style, incorporating tape loops, taishōgoto, and hurdy-gurdy into his sculptural approach.

It has become de rigueur to describe Philadelphia guitarist Bill Nace as an inveterate collaborator, and with good reason. Until his 2020 solo album Both, most of Nace’s high-profile releases were in duos or trios with longtime friends like Chris Corsano and John Truscinski, out-music legends like Joe McPhee and Thurston Moore, or surprising connections like Susan Alcorn or Graham Lambkin. His long-running group with Kim Gordon, Body/Head, has itself featured occasional third members like Michael Morley and Aaron Dilloway. If a listener encountered Nace’s bristling, shapeshifting guitar on a recording from the 2000s or 2010s, it was likely in company with noisemakers of a very high pedigree.

This is only part of Nace’s story, however. Dotted throughout his discography are solo recordings from 2006’s Solo Guitar to this year’s PM/FM, released on cassette or lathe-cut vinyl in short runs on his own Open Mouth imprint or noise labels like Throne Heap. These outings—usually brief and difficult to find—provide a glimpse into a lesser-known history of Nace as a guitarist, from the wild, feedback-driven chaos of his early years to the more varied approach he has mastered recently. They show Nace’s artistic trajectory with other musicians to be intertwined with his experiments as a soloist, with techniques generated in one arena snaking their way into the other.

Nace’s recent efforts for Drag City have offered more polished takes on his experimental work for smaller labels, refining his blend of improvisation and composition. On Through a Room, he builds on the sculptural approach of Both, incorporating tape loops as well as instruments like the taishōgoto and hurdy-gurdy. Not that you’d necessarily know—each sound is drenched in enough reverb and static to obliterate its origin. For Nace, the relevant musical unit is not the note or the chord but the burst of noise. Having produced towering blocks of vibration, he rearranges them into structures based more on their inherent timbral quality than any notion of traditional songcraft. Walls of distortion are decorated with filigree traceries of treble as if to guide the eye across a Brutalist facade. Co-producer Cooper Crain, of Bitchin’ Bajas, deserves credit here for helping to realize Nace’s blueprints by recording and editing his tracks, as he did on Both.

Nace approaches the guitar as an object to be explored as much as an instrument to be played. In addition to fingerpicking and strumming, he uses bits of wood or metal to generate a spectrum of tones that, with practice, he can manipulate with precision. Once he has perfected a technique it may be redeployed, as in the resonant metallic sawing that first appeared on PM/FM and now makes up “When Orange.” Some tracks have a clear precedent in the world of noise, as in the Dilloway-inspired tape warp of “Outro” or the granular grinding of “Les Echos (Piece for Tuba),” which would fit wonderfully on a Load Records compilation. Others are unclassifiable. On “Ann,” Nace apparently wants to recreate a nature recording, complete with squawking birds and chittering monkeys. Across its eight minutes, the listener is guided through a darkening jungle where ominous echoes bound overhead. Nace achieves a remarkable variety across the album, but his distinctive guitar sound is always identifiably his.

Nace’s body of work with improvisatory duos and trios is vast and enviably good, a testament to his adaptability to a range of contexts and performers. On his own, meanwhile, he is steadily honing a singular personal style. With Both, it was exciting to see an underground lifer finally getting his due; Through a Room confirms Nace’s inquisitive spirit and formidable skills.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Bill Nace - Through a Room Music Album Reviews Bill Nace - Through a Room Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 18, 2022 Rating: 5


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