Elliott Sharp/Zeena Parkins

Blackburst Psycho-Acoustic

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Blackburst Psycho-Acoustic Review

by Rick Anderson

Psycho-Acoustic is guitarist Elliott Sharp and harpist Zeena Parkins, and Blackburst is their first album together under that name (their first album was titled Psycho-Acoustic and simply credited to Sharp and Parkins). As with their first project, this one finds them exploring the sonic frontiers of their various instruments, which include double-neck guitar/bass, bass clarinet, synthesizers and rhythm machines, and a mysterious instrument called the "Buchla Thunder." Blackburst is somewhat more accessible than Psycho-Acoustic, but it's still thoroughly weird. "Specific Gravity" features a percolating beat that hops along under a one-chord vamp, allowing Sharp and Parkins to lay down layers of moaning, shrieking instrumental lines on top. "Peregrine" is episodic in nature and epic in length, but ultimately proves to be more interesting than enjoyable. The best track of the album is "Massive Apatite" (sic), which weaves together subtle vocal samples, a staggering beat and a recurring synth pattern that sounds like R2D2 in ecstasy. Cool.

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