Body/Head, the duo of Kim Gordon and guitarist Bill Nace, release No Waves on Friday 11th November.
Recorded on 24th March 2014 during Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN at the Bijou Theater, this high-quality live recording captures Gordon and Nace at peak chemistry, clearing pathways of possibility using great waves of amplification and voice, during the tour supporting 2013’s critically lauded Coming Apart.
Instead of presenting “tracks” or “songs” from the record, this album should be considered a “moment,” one pinnacle set that was beautifully caught in time.
World-renowned artist and long-time friend of Gordon’s, Raymond Pettibon, has made an original piece of art for the cover of the album, and Ben Chasny wrote the bio (below).
Pre-order No Waves here.
Body/Head’s debut release for Matador Records, Coming Apart, was arguably the heaviest record of 2013 and received with open arms and blown minds across the world. The fact that a record steeped so heavily in non-traditional structures and improvisation could touch so many people was not a surprise to anyone who had seen Body/Head in a live setting. No Waves captures that raw improvisation and harnesses the power into a listening experience of pure, unmediated intensity.
The fire of improvisation is not the fire of the elements. Body/Head deal in electricity, but they exist in the fire of improvisation. As such, they need to play live to sustain themselves. Call it the ontological necessity of a band working heavily with the flow of power (power flowing back and forth between the members of the band, flowing through band and audience, flowing through the mental and material planes, etc). No Waves, a document of this flow of power, offers a different side of the band they revealed on Coming Apart. Yes, some of the songs cross over in indefinable ways, but the live foundation of No Waves brings all new energies to the fore. Everything reveals itself in the now.
One of the pleasures of a live record is a chance for the listener to feel the music develop and unfold from a previously known departure point. This experience is magnified with Body/Head due to the improvisatory basis of the band, which encourages new sounds and modes of communication with every show. We hear new vocal melodies developing, new attacks on strings, new clusters of intervals. It is the sound of sound evolving. Listening to No Waves, one can’t help feel that despite the title of their previous record, Coming Apart, we’re actually hearing Kim and Bill become one. Guitars and vocals flow into each as if played by a single creature. The sound of their evolution causes audiomorphic sensations. Two guitars or eight? Four hands or one? One voice or two?
The live record also plays with orientation via its concentration on communication. Which way are you listening to it? Listen once and hear certain forms.
Listen to the same part again and you may perceive new forms, like overhearing a game of telephone. With No Waves, Body/Head adds a document to the library of classic live records that never exhaust themselves no matter how many times they are listened to. Musicians and groups such as Albert Ayler, High Rise, Van Morrison, Rudolph Grey, Bill Evans,Swans, etc. knew the unique possibilities of a live record that invites participation from the listener. It’s the beauty of a path cleared at the moment it was recorded and for every moment to come. It’s Body/Headdoing what they do best – making the listener smile as they participate with the band in joyous, creative time. The Élan vital never rocked so hard.
-Ben Chasny (Comets on Fire, Six Organs of Admittance)