Particles and Smears is a case of "the title says it all." This meeting between Montreal experimental turntablist Martin Tétreault and guitarist Kevin Drumm was recorded on August 31, 1999. The result: 14 short (all but one under five minutes) untitled improvisations made of sparse particles of sound. On this record, Tétreault continues to develop his new vocabulary for the turntable, neglecting LPs in order to play the turntable itself -- amplifying the motor, sticking the needle in the motor, covering the needle with a rubber balloon, etc. -- much like what he did on his 1998 collaboration with René Lussier, Dur Noyau Dur. Still, once in a while he does come back to prepared vinyl, like on track eight, but only as if to remind you that this kind of thing isn't part of his schtick anymore. Kevin Drumm follows the same aesthetic on Particles and Smears, producing quiet amounts of sounds. This meeting is too restrained, almost too polite; the listener wishes the musicians would loosen up and get excited. The album lacks some peak moments like Tétreault's busy solo on track ten, one of the rare lively moments within this hour of music.
AllMusic Review by François Couture