White Out with Jim O'Rourke Drunken Little Mass

Free jazz crashes into the open desktop window of Powerbook improv on this excellent new recording from NYC duo Lin Culbertson and Tom Surgal, collectively known as White Out. Here, the multi-instrumentalist and infinite percussionist invite Jim O'Rourke into their parlour with his Powerbook and guitar for an improv session that colours outside the admittedly broken lines of free jazz. They dispense with the "everything turned on and up all of the time" mode of improvisation, which often makes listening to such recordings as exhausting as paddling upstream. On the lengthy first piece, "Fury Breath Flying At Half Mast," the initial storm of analogue synth, octoped percussion and Powerbook squiggles blows over around the six or seven minute mark, settling in to a gentle, yet menacing, drone that the players tiptoe through with acoustic guitars and miniature gongs held aloft. The rest of the album meets the same high standard; Surgal especially impresses with his keen sense of where all of the space/psych sounds seem to be going, meeting them with just the right beats in hand. If this isn't the soundtrack for the upcoming Barbarella remake, well it ought to be. (Smells Like)