Review: Other Plastics – Overtime Liquor (Creative Sources Recordings, Jun 1)

“Overtime Liquor will make you sloppy. It will make you unruly and no doubt will take you out of your head. Drinks on us.”

Other Plastics, the duo of NYC artists Hunter Brown and Dominic Coles, embody a continuation of irreverent, DIY-focused actors in the 21st-century improvised music scene like Joe Foster & Bonnie Jones (English), GOD, or Cremaster into the new decade with their debut release Overtime Liquor. Like these artists, Brown and Cole refract spontaneous actions through an arsenal of repurposed electronics, which may include anything from laptops and complex synthesizer routings to messes of frayed cords and broken-open devices. Opener “Dommy Speaks,” in a short and raucous flurry, displays the distinct palette of artificial emission and erroneous electrical chaos with which they will be working over the eight successive tracks; the austere blasts of caustic digital noise and budget sine tones are certainly in a similar vein as the work of other more “academic” electroacoustic improvisers, but there’s always a unique freedom to Overtime Liquor, a barely audible but persistent whisper of anything goes beneath the plastic folds. I find it difficult to accurately express what I so intensely enjoy about this album without sounding insulting (although I’m sure these adventurous musicians will understand). There’s this… not cheapness, to the music, but a sense that the artists don’t discriminate between the sounds they generate, an implicit marriage of indeterminacy and improvisation that can only come from the use of such haphazard materials. It’s like Voice Crack; I often feel like I’m more listening to a humble experiment than a considered interaction. And that’s what makes this album so uniquely infectious.