Matthew Bower's seemingly endless (and often rewarding) quest to test the boundaries of noise via rock instruments continues with another fine Total effort, Solid Objects Cast at Goblins. Consisting of three tracks recorded by Bower in collaboration with John Godbert (likely others are involved, based on how much is going on at points, but not credited), the hour-long effort has the two guitarists working on a series of improvisations at once aggressive and strangely, wonderfully beautiful. Those familiar with Total will already be primed for the album's contents, but oddly enough this might actually be a good start for newcomers. Recorded as it was as Skullflower was being retired to be replaced by Sunroof, Solid Objects perhaps captures Bower in transitional mood. Certainly the ten-minute-long opening cut, "Tannery #1 14.1.96," is hardly merry pop tune fun, but the blend of buried, squalling feedback howl and more upfront metallic scream and crackle achieves a lovely synthesis, something even the occasional screams -- less harrowing than one might think -- don't dispel. At one point the lower-in-the-mix guitar achieves a perfect rhythmic swirl while the other holds high, crackling tones that have an undeniable majesty -- it's a strange but powerful effect. The relatively brief "Thin Constellations" takes a more doom-laden, melancholy approach, notes droning downwards in succession, quickening, then pulling back again -- the Dead C might be a comparison point, but there's less tape crumble and more stentorian atmosphere. The title track takes up the rest of the disc at nearly 50 minutes long, the only one featuring percussion (of an admittedly arrythymic sort), along with piano and various wind instruments, to accompany the feedback moans and drones. Understandably it's the most seemingly forbidding track of all, but like the other two there's a weird, wonderful magic to the solos and collective exchanges.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett