Review: Loud and Sad - "unknown species"

Loud and Sad - unknown species
(2012 Greenup Industries) 

Though abstract and, at times, impenetrable, this record’s worth of ambling banjo riffs and electronic noodling is surprisingly accessible. To listen too closely, to try to take a deconstructive approach to unknown species is a mistake – the record is too unstructured, too organic to pick apart and analyze. Separated, these minimal arrangements of twangy pluckings, manipulated loops and ambient noise are rather clumsy and strange, but combined, they are sublime.

The Pennsylvanian duo fashions ecosystems of sound; the most immersive of these worlds appears halfway through unknown species’ B-side on “Beth”. Whispery hums of what I think is an oboe traverse like wispy clouds above an empty Archean earth, in anticipation of the ethereal guitar loops and percussive tectonic rumblings that later enter the picture. Each track is the birth of a new planet, abandoned as quickly as it is lovingly created. Such is the nature of improvisation. We humans can produce staggering beauty as accidentally as we can generate anything. It’s these haphazard masterpieces, moments of extemporaneous brilliance that are the rawest and most organic works of art one can absorb. This is experimental performance at its finest – primal, yet refined.