Cut Iowa Network: Projector Gunship Held {Ø}
Panic Arrest

Panic Arrest follows its superb Minus Pilots release, Superior Proof of Cinema, with a solid double-album set by Cut Iowa Network, a forward-thinking trio comprised of Tim Evans (guitars, effects, loops, tapes), Adam Barringer (basses, low-end frequencies, loops), and Steve d'Enton (drums, percussion). Recorded in late 2008 and the first chapter in a planned trilogy, Projector Gunship Held {Ø} spreads sixty-six minutes of freewheeling “instrumental drone-rock” across four 180g-vinyl sides. Cut Iowa Network plays in a live and loose jam-like style that's anything but off-putting, though the trio does fixate on a particular riff a tad obsessively on side two.

Side one's “The Sun Was Gone But Our Faces Shone” initiates the journey languidly with its opening minutes devoted to hazy guitar textures and cymbal shimmer. Sounding much like musicians sharpening tools and trying out gear in the machine shop, the mood is languorous as razor-sharp guitar lines drift across subtle percussive punctuations. At the seven-minute mark, the full drum kit kicks in, rousing the music from slumber and setting it on its way. With Barringer's bass joining in soon after, the music slowly gathers steam, becoming a dusty trudge before fading. The tempo picks up on side two with “The Signals From Your Radar Are Closing In On Me Listen” leaping from the gate with a stabbing guitar motif repeating over a punchy drum pulse, and “Blacking Out Through Chinese Walls” perpetuating that steady increase in intensity.

Repeating figures in “Super Futures Axis Neo Tokyo” boost the third side's psychedelic character, as does the krautrock-like attack stoked by the band. Midway through, a brief breakdown paves the way for some dive-bombing guitar lines (a subtle nod to No Pussyfooting perhaps?) before the band starts up again, even more aggressively this time, before decompressing in haze at track's end. The band's experimental side moves to the forefront during side four's culminating “Kill Command (Arc Light Operations)” where strangulated swells roar and churn noisily overtop throbbing and occasionally eruptive rhythms (d'Enton's spirited playing the focal point in this case). That final side, a powerful culmination of all that's come before, is the album's strongest. Though the vinyl format obviously splits it into four sides, Projector Gunship Held {Ø} needs to be heard in its entirety for the music's progression and incremental build to be appreciated.

April 2009