Tuesday, 5 February 2008



For the Root project/experiment Thurston Moore created 25 improvised one-minute guitar works that he sent out to a number of artists from various genres to remix and generally mess around with.  Being Thurston Moore naturally the individuals he chose to post pieces to were people at the top of the guy and very likely to do something individual and interesting with his pieces.

The initial limited edition run of the CD version of Root came housed in numbered hoover bags, which was how the original tracks were posted to their recipients.

As stated above Root boasts a rich and varied line-up of collaborators including amusingly probably the only time that Blur and Mogwai will ever appear on the record.  In addition to these heavyweights UK indie found itself well represented by also having Stereolab and Bruce Gilbert on the team.  From here more traditional remixers appear in the no less gnarly propositions of Alex Empire, V/Vm, Third Eye Foundation and Add N to (X) while further spanning the globe Moore managed to get Merzbow from Japan on board before touching base with people closer to home such as Derek Bailey.

It opens as if being presented with a lecture from Bailey offering direction and sonic tutelage in a Mark E. Smith manner.  Class can begin.

Unsurprisingly Root offers mixed emotions and a varied experience to/for the listener.  Naturally it’s far from entirely enjoyable but what else would you expect from something so abstract.  Indeed often contributions are next to unlistenable (Mark Webber I am looking at you).

Early stars of the project arrive in Luke Vibert and Blur, the first of which reworks the pieces into subtly string laden bouncing pieces of funk while the later indulges in a heavy dose of creased meandering repetition before eventually breaking into a smoky jazz finale.  Here are two efforts that appear to have travelled a long way.

Of the unknowns Mellowtrons score highest with their driving panel and succulent groove before later Echo Park pull off a similar trick while employing a blissful female sample sprinkled on top.  Then late on the big beat of Twisted Science vs. Burzootie serves to thrill in the face of so much drone and distortion.

The winner of the piece turns out to be Cheap Glue and their version “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” which achieves joy by employing a dumb sample of a drunk man complaining about getting his “fucked head kicked in” while a bouncing groove inhabits proceedings in a sedate motion that serves to operate some degree of sympathy and humility.  Then it all ends with a cheeky Casio outro.  So much to like.

At the end of the day this is not a release I can imagine listening to on a regular basis but as an experiment and adventure into sound Thurston Moore has done a lot worse.

Thesaurus moment: germination.

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