Review: Nathan Corder & Tom Weeks – Diamondback (self-released, Apr 17)

A little over two years since Noise Pelican’s release of Anaconda, the first document of the collaboration between Oakland composers and improvisers Nathan Corder and Tom Weeks, the two musicians’ trilogy concludes with Diamondback. It continues the format introduced by the previous two releases—minimally adorned cover art, significant changes in instrument usage (Corder played electronics on Anaconda, electric guitar on Black Mamba, and here joins Weeks on various winds), etc.—but Diamondback seems a different beast, a truly remarkable statement of extreme improvised music. The clarity of which contributions come from which musician is much less than before, as both artists use their remarkable respiratory systems to make noise with a wide range of wind instruments, which sound like anything from toy kazoos or pocket trumpets to baffling extended techniques on conventional instruments. The patience and endurance on display throughout Diamondbacks nearly hour-long run time is nothing short of astounding; Corder and Weeks have reached a new height of improvisational chemistry here, and whether they’re settled into largely stagnant textural ruminations like the symphony of metallic buzz and staccato brass abuse of “Soft Pack,” exchanging ersatz call-and-response flurries on “High and Tight” (which also involves some really fascinating elements of physicality), or utilizing some absolutely terrifying resonance in “Props,” it’s all an absolute joy to witness.