Sonic Youth - Spinhead Sessions

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2016-06-20

Spinhead Sessions contains seven instrumental tracks recorded in 1986 at rehearsals to score Ken Friedman’s film Made In USA. They show the band in between Evol and Sister in their classic Thurston, Kim, Lee and Steve line-up towards the beginning of a run of faultless albums that would take them into the '90s.

This album is made up of lovely, little instrumentals (aside from the 16 minute tremolo odyssey that is opening track, Ambient Guitar & Dreamy Theme). Occasionally it is a little loose, as you would expect from rehearsals. And Wolf is little more than a doodle. But this is great for Sonic Youth fans, especially fans of the quiet interludes in their songs. It's a rare opportunity to sit in whilst they create. Hearing Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo bouncing off each other with their complementary but also slightly contrasting tunings and parts. Utilising delay and tremolo effects more than they would usually. But also using some of their more familiar tricks like those little harmonics/deadened string arpeggios that appear on many of their albums. Beneath this Kim Gordon roots it all with a soft, bass pulse whilst Steve Shelley moves between conventional drumming and more impressionistic little touches.

Overall it has a lovely, night-time feel. More for the fans than the first-time buyers. But a chance to listen in on one of the greatest, most adventurous bands of our times jamming with the volume turned down.

 

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