Lee Ranaldo

From Here to Infinity

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Probably the most aggressively experimental album ever released on the aggro-punk label SST, the solo debut by Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo is an uncompromisingly experimental collection of brief works for electric guitar that have far more in common with his early mentors Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca than with the progressively poppier Sonic Youth albums of the same period. The brief pieces (one to four minutes, most around two) sound remarkably like the opening and closing bits of songs on albums like Sister or Daydream Nation, the unsettled, amorphous sound patterns that coalesce before the band kicks into the songs proper, only here they fade out instead. On the CD, that is: The original vinyl pressing of this album was unique in that every track ended with a lock groove, so that the drones could continue as long as you wanted before you lifted the needle by hand and moved on to the next track. On CD, however, From Here to Infinity sounds like a collection of fragments and cool sounds that Ranaldo didn't have any place else to put. His later solo releases would be much more fully formed after this sketchy, inconsequential start.

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