Thurston Moore – [Album]

Thursday, 26 May 2011

After so many miles logged and so many projects undertaken (Dim Stars with Richard Hell and the Backbeat soundtrack are personal favorites outside of Sonic Youth, but their mention only scratches the surface of an expansive catalogue), singer/guitarist/sound scientist Thurston Moore has proven he's capable of composing just as many types of music as his imagination can fathom. His body of work is impressive, but equally impressive is the fact that he has never recorded a simple, straightforward and singer-songwriter-ly album without including a healthy helping of sub-cult seasoning on it; it's almost as if his hands and mind won't allow him to appear unadorned before his audience. That summation isn't meant to sound disparaging, but that Moore has never dared to level with his audience and hasn't shown them the basic essence of his muse has become the sort of omission that begs resolution. After all, one can only go so far in one direction before he (and those who are following him) begin to wonder what the opposite might be. That logic and/or desire to see the flip-side of Thurston Moore's proverbial coin is the single most plausible reason for why Demolished Thoughts sounds the way it does. While acoustic work isn't quite foreign territory for the guitarist (Trees Outside The Academy was largely acoustic), this marks the first time Moore has added no textural overtones or dissonant trappings to the album's nine songs, and simply concentrates his energy on making a conventionally classic album instead.

Now, “conventionally classic” is not a term used to describe Demolished Thoughts because Thurston Moore decided that maybe Paul Simon was onto something and so decided to make a folk-ish, Adult Contemporary album – it's easy to tell that this album is the work of one of the creative minds behind Sonic Youth. The overwhelming sonic bombast so normally associated with SY's sound is absent from Demolished Thoughts, but the impression of it remains. Listeners will recognize shadows of the acoustic songs that have graced Sonic Youth recordings here, but there are other tracks that do sound much like those aforementioned bombastic ones in this run-time too – they're just unplugged and that such an approach works as well as it proves to is shocking at first, but becomes beautiful as listeners warm to it.

Listeners accustomed to Moore's past dalliances with textural, white-noisy composition and the acoustic fare that was featured on Trees Outside The Academy will have their minds gently, carefully and quietly blown as songs like “Illuminine,” “Circulation,” “Blood Never Lies” and “Mina Loy” burst seemingly from nothing. Between the strings that appear on each song, a single acoustic guitar and Moore's own breathless vocal delivery, listeners will be able to make an easy, initial comparison between this album and Bjork's work with Matmos but, because these songs are just so damned pretty and completely “un-novel” (even with the strings), they come off as perfectly genuine. That genuine demeanor combined with soft, almost romantic delivery employed proves to be the key for unlocking the hearts of listeners, but at around the time “In Silver Rain” and “Space” roll in, listeners will begin to realize that these songs really (really) aren't so far removed from Sonic Youth's music; albeit unplugged. It is in the mid- to late-playing of Demolished Thoughts where the guitarist illustrates that all of the bluster and layers of cascading feedback normally associated both with Moore's name and Sonic Youth's by extension can be easily stripped away and still leave some beautiful, hypnotizing music behind. When listeners realize that, they'll also see that they're being offered some insight into the core of Thurston Moore; that's when they'll realize that it's the man – not the music – that is vibrant, and he simply imbues the music with that essence and sensibility. That is the incredible thing about Demolished Thoughts; as much as it is a great album, it also explains a great deal about its maker and even some of his music outside its run-time.



Thurston Moore – “Circulation” – Demolished Thoughts


Demolished Thoughts
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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