Review: Max Nordile – Copper in the Arts (Gilgongo, Apr 14)

Though I don’t own many myself, I have to say a 12″ lathe is a fitting format for what might be Max Nordile’s best release to date, music and medium sharing a crude, homespun charisma. The famed Oakland-based junk-sound purveyor is usually working on multiple collaborative projects at any given time, but his most memorable work is often solo under Hair Clinic, his own name, or both, and in many ways Copper in the Arts is the culmination of all of it. All the usual suspects—wailing, broken sax ditties; dingy drones; tape-muffled clatter of knickknacks and doodads; fleeting environs—show up in spades across both distinct yet complementary sides of the slightly oversized slab, and while I’m not 100% sure which side is A (“Rats Are the Souls of Dead Landlords”) and which is B (title track) I can still say both are wonderful. The choppy lo-fi recordings seem specifically designed to blur and blend with the churning distortion of the lathe cut, often to the point of sounding like it’s stuck on a locked groove before some subtle new element starts to creep in. It’s both a tragedy and a blessing that this edition of fifty hasn’t sold out yet—go forth and support one of the best artists and one of the best labels doing it at the moment!

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