Thursday, May 3, 2012

Extra Large Childe – Awesome Bummer (Algae, 2010)

Extra Large Childe – Awesome Bummer
Algae 2010

Extra Large Childe is a Detroit-area group featuring Alana Carlson, Mike Ross, Jeff Spatafora, Kirk Van Husen, and Justin Walsh. This cassette release was recorded in Ferndale and Royal Oak Michigan in 2009. “Court Order” begins with a field recording of a group of people in conversation, soon submerged by piercing, dissonant guitar drones and a skittish, free-form drum set. The track has an improvisatory, noise rock aesthetic, and in all honesty, it sounds like a half-assed jam session. The production on “Double Adapter” has a much better quality, and the song is better crafted. It’s not just because it has more of an organized song structure; it’s because it sounds like more work went into it, even if it is simple and minimalist. The funky bass and repetitive, angular guitar riffs feed well off each other. As the tape continues, the music maintains a rather discordant, jangly, off-kilter rock style. There’s a fair share of just plain goofing off (i.e., on “Maybe Tempestuous”). “Extra Love Child” has a more ambient sound much different than most of the other songs. It is composed of a short, looping bell melody, maybe from a synth. A free form acoustic guitar subtly adds textural sounds underneath. A crunchy, oscillating analog synth fades in and out, also joined by another warm, looping synth melody, interweaving with the first bell loop. It is the most intriguing song on the tape. It is followed by “Fight Night”, another good display of minimalist craft. The only melodic instrument in the song is the bass and it only plays one note the whole way through. But the emphasis is on the magic of polyrhythmic playfulness, supported by a propulsive drum set and cowbell.

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