Cut Iowa Network: Projector Gunship Held {Ø,{Ø}}
Champion Version

Projector Gunship Held {Ø,{Ø}}, the second instalment in Cut Iowa Network's projected trilogy, won't disappoint fans who cottoned to the first. The hour-long sequel serves up more of the group's trademark blend of panoramic post-rock and experimental kosmische musik playmaking. Traces of Can, Tarantel, and Robert Fripp may surface, but Cut Iowa Network carefully cultivates its own unique sound in the recording's eight tracks, some of them interludes (the guitar loops-based “Propulsion System Left Us for Dead,” “We Are Super Eight”) and others long-form epics (“Halo Antennas,” “Champion Decade Explodes”).

The opener “Halo Antennas” spotlights all of the group's core tendencies: the openness to improv-driven, live-sounding exploration; the confident looseness with which the trio digs into its material and shifts tempos; and the natural ease with which experimental treatments (effects, loops, and tapes) blend with acoustic instrument sounds. Stretching across fifteen minutes, the track unfolds as a largely heady plunge into psychedelic drone-ambient playing. All members contribute equally to the total sound, with Steve d'Enton's ever-inventive drumming as prominently positioned at the front-line as Tim Evans' guitars and Adam Barringer's bass. Projector Gunship Held {Ø,{Ø}} picks up considerable momentum halfway through when “Champion Decade Explodes” neatly juxtaposes the energized thrust of d'Enton's robust attack with the ambient atmospherics of Evans' guitar playing (Barringer's bass the glue holding the track together) and things keep on rolling thereafter when “Beneath Sound We Shiver” stokes controlled fury. “Altitude Battle Scar (Arc Light Operations)” takes the album out in a torrential blaze of distorted guitar fuzz and rambunctious drumming. On a more atmospheric tip, tremolo guitars shudder across blistered desert plains during “Square Wave Through the Spectrum Ascent,” plus there's the Frippertronics-inflected “Horizon 78 Dimension Event.” So is Cut Iowa Network's second chapter dramatically different from its first? Not really, though there's nothing terribly objectionable about that; Projector Gunship Held {Ø,{Ø}} finds the group refining its style and capitalizing on the strengths of its predecessor.

April 2010