Limited to 300 copies, the latest collaboration by New Yorkers artist/musician Che Chen (he also painted the striking, mountainous psychedelic cover-art) and composer Robbie Lee compiles a trio of sketchy, meandering tracks. Recently released on audioMER. the genre-defying improvisation on The Spectrum Does is a wash of discordant layers presented in a post-industrial sound structure and produced through a multitude of instruments: harmonium, electronics, flute, violin and much more. Explain Please (The Stars Are Listening) is the first track here clocking in over 18 minutes. It’s like a contorted conversation between unknown entities, wailing and serrated, filled with alarms, pauses, ghostly howls. There’s a squelching imbalance between the left and right sides of the larger brain here. It’s about conundrum, about conflict, perhaps with nature in the balance with all eyes (as stars) watching the turmoil below. A moody, brooding and dramatic work.
After flipping the vinyl to the b-side the shortest track here is revealed, This Was The Only Spot That Was Green instantly invokes a sense of memory, perhaps of loss. The dull sigh of the wind instruments here create a great outdoors feel, becoming playful and airy towards the tail-end. Finally the title track takes us by surprise, wriggling horns and strings are cyclically entangled kickstarting a complex track that weaves sweet sounds with raw energy. It’s a long-playing piece at over 24 minutes. Oddly there’s a harmony behind the cacophony, it’s a play on which instrument moves from rear to center, and still, like a bee-hive of a traffic jam we are left with a certain breather that is earned as if someone has earned their respectful right to the open road. Towards the central part of the track things get more disorienting and stretched out as the players find their personal sweet spot. Here the uneasy-listening aspect sheds itself somewhat to a more mysterious drone of sorts, reverberating as if they were underground. It’s as if the sound space is percolating as to caution what’s to come. A traditional Japanese sounding arrangement smooths over the hot coals left from earlier, though the tranquil repetition then leaves way to a new friction of frustrated strings. In the end pockets of soundwaves, as if made by the call of a marine mammal protrude in and out of recognition, leaving a wake of distant ringing alarms and light agitation slowly fading.