A Look in The Local Bin: Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell

Originally recorded in the mid to late 70s, Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell‘s Beyond The Black Crack still stands as a testament to the staying power of experimental music and soundscapes. Swerving between minimal clicks and whirling drones, Beyond The Black Crack is required listening for anyone wanting to enter the dizzying world of free jazz and and environmental sounds.

The album begins with the 12 minute journey “Black Crack and The Sole Survivors.” Acting as sort of a thesis to the album’s concept, the track layers ambient textures and electronic flourishes to make an ever shifting soundscape. Throughout “Black Crack and The Sole Survivors,” Rev. Dwight Frizzell’s tape editing rises to the audible surface at points, giving the song’s structure the same vertiginous pacing of a Jean-Luc Godard film. Despite the disjunctions that occur throughout, “Black Crack and The Sole Survivors” unfurls as a continuous piece of atmospherics.

The album’s jittering moments stretch from intra-track to inter-track. Because the album was recorded in various locations and includes live sessions, the ambience and tone of the songs offer bits of disjunction and coherence. Much like how the first (and somewhat) title track turns and turns into itself, Beyond The Black Crack twists through its track listing with a geodesic angularity. The result is an album that calls attention to its construction while also decontextualizing individual moments to create a new series of connections.

And one of these new connections comes in the interplay between “Nocturnal” and “Fly by Night.” “Nocturnal” blends what sounds like different types of water together to cleanse the aural palate of the more traditional jazz compositions that precede it before becoming pure steam. While the the song doesn’t wash seamlessly into the next track, the ambient feel of the beginning of “Fly by Night” makes the two songs feel as though they exist in the same solar system. Brooding and airy, “Fly By Night” is built from electronics that always threaten to turn wild.

 

From these tracks, Beyond The Black Crack returns to more straightforward free jazz (while incorporating some elements of dub). It seems as though the second half of the album unfurls with more joy (but not necessarily more energy) than its first half–noisy environments roil under weirded flutes and horns. The two feelings offer a nice counterbalance to each other, giving the album yet another subtle layer of complexity.

Beyond The Black Crack ends with the song “How To Avoid Simultaneity.” A blistering example of aural glitter, “How To Avoid Simultaneity” is the heated counterpoint to “Fly By Night.” Its pianos and electronics speed toward aporia without ever reaching its irresolvable point, giving the track an unhinged joy, a playfulness that does well to close the album.

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