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coverpic flag US - Arizona - Full Moon 204 - 04/25/13

Cy Dune
No Recognize EP
Family Tree Records

Cy Dune is Akron/Family's Seth Olinsky's new solo project. Olinsky has spent most of the last year in Tucson, Arizona, while "...reading all the Dune books and a bunch of Cormac McCarthy while exploring American primitivist music through the lens of Dylan, extreme tube saturation, and wild West African guitar music...". He's also said to be inspired by reading Patti Smith's memoir book Just Kids.

No Recognize EP is out now on Akron/Family's own label Family Tree Records, and it presents six tracks. "Where the Wild Things" opens the EP, and I instantly think of Where The Wild Things Are - the movie (I must admit that I've never read the book...). It's a playful and whimsical tune, and, yes, it's really wild and wonderful. This is a song that'll knock you over. It's a blast. "Move The Room" is more up the Spiritualized alley, with it's dirty, psychedelic rawk tint. The title track is a calmer, slower track, at least in the beginning. The song evolves and rolls on, and I'm getting this audio-visual image of Lou Reed backed by The Bad Seeds. Or maybe not. "Impulsive Field Occurrence" is just a brief instrumental intermission introducing "Resentment", which sounds like a dry and sand-dusted desert ballad, or a freaky folk-blues. The closing "Yellin" is another amusingly wild and sparkling rock craze. Not like in being crazy, only roaming the same fields as Captain Beefheart did.

No Recognize EP was recorded in Tucson and Brooklyn, through sessions where Seth had invited a small group of musicians to join him: bassist/guitarist Shahzad Ismaily (of 2 Foot Yard, Klezmer Madness Quartet, and a bunch of bands, plus collaborating with artists such as Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Fred Frith, Marc Ribot, John Zorn, Bonnie 'Prince Billy'/Will Oldham, Nels Cline, Zeena Parkins and many more), contemporary free-jazz drummer Andrew Barker, bassist/guitarist Dave Hartley (of The War on Drugs), drummer Chris Powell (of Icy Demons, Need New Body, Man Man, and other projects), and bassist William Parker. SPIN magazine wrote that Akron/Family once was described as 'loud and proud psych-folk'. SPIN claims Cy Dune/Seth Olinsky to be '... louder and prouder, though certainly not "folk", except in the sense that rock'n'roll was a dominant vernacular form of expression in the 20th century'. Yes, this is in fact louder, and more psyched than the Akron/Family stuff. It's got both ups and downs, but "Where the Wild Things" and "Yellin" are stand-out tracks lifting this EP.

Family Tree Records put the story like this: The Cy Dune story starts with a songbook. This particular book had a 100 songs written in 20th century American visionary long hand over 5 years after leaving home and travelling the world in what some might call the contemporary music scene of the early 21st century... In 2010 the 100 songs were finished, written and demoed. In 2011, he moved to the Sonoran desert to record a primitivist American blues story old/new weird American anthology of these songs with only an old acoustic guitar and the very same rebuilt 1/4" tube Ampex reel to reel that Alan Lomax used to record field hollers out of his trunk. Months were spent fine tuning 100 songs, researching tube and tape saturation, Fahey's discovery of Skip James and his mystical open D tuning, early Dylan cryptology, the notes between the notes of Leadbelly recordings, Michael Hurley's Folkways First Songs and re-tuning all guitars to that self same slightly flat key. But the 100 songs wouldn't record.
2011 ended and the spark of change finally came as a Christmas gift given by his mother. Patti Smith's Just Kids. Re-awed by the transformative powers of Rock'n'Roll, frustrated, fed up, he plugged in his guitar and the songs alived and ripped themselves into being, bursting out as sheets of guitar shredding sound like explosions written on the wall. Patti Smith's book begins the year Coltrane died. Cy Dune's story begins again with the simple act of plugging in his guitar, mimicking the thrust of the 20th century. The EP is a soundtrack to this transformation. His electric guitar story-tellings tap in, steeped with all the mystery of pre-war weird America holler, African pentatonic shamanism, be bop underground, and Kerouac's road verse electrified and amplified. The songs blaze like roads north to Chicago and Detroit, like amps falling off cars, the rattling tubes all saturated sound color and broken speaker blues, sounds of a whole century.'

Word is that a full-length is scheduled to follow later this year, and Burger Records is going to put out a limited run of 300 hand-numbered cassettes. better check the album as well.

Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Cy Dune article/review: Shake.

© 2013 Luna Kafé