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Friday, 8 June 2012

Record Review - Blues Control

Valley Tangents
Drag City LP/CD/cassette

Since their third album, 2009’s Local Flavor, New Yorkers Russ Waterhouse and Lea Cho have upped-sticks and re-located in leafy east Pennsylvania, where they wrote and recorded this latest batch of avant-garde instrumentals. Has the move affected Blues Control’s muse? 

Hard to tell because they’ve stayed true to their original blueprint of fusing established music genres with avant-garde textures, although this time you can detect the occasional humourous nod towards their gentler way of life, such as an electronic insect buzzing from speaker to speaker. 

Blues Control's weakness is also their strength – no album is ever stylistically consistent (try coming up with an umbrella phrase for music that touches on modern jazz, psychedelia, industrial and Harold Budd-esque piano noodlings). I'd hate to be the person asked to market this kind of clever eclecticism. Although, having said that, the Tate Modern should buy a few hundred copies and flog them in their shops… the music would perfectly complement their schizophrenic visuals.
Chris Twomey

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