Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jonathan Kane February Record Review

Jonathan Kane
Table of the Elements

In the early ‘80s Jonathan Kane provided the mammoth percussive creep behind Swans records, like Crawl and Filth. Despite the group’s crushing industrial racket, Kane’s murky traipse held more in common with Chicago blues than the noise or lofty Manhattan art rock scenes of the era. February, his first solo release, is a blasting artifact of blues-drone dirge that bares the marks of a man who’s spent a lifetime balancing these disparate influences.

Kane’s journey from the malevolent Swans to drummer behind the cerebral swells of Rhys Chatham’s 100 Electric Guitar Orchestra culminates here with blustery instrumental bliss.

The robust rhythms of the 12-minute opener “Curl” and the circular motion of “Pops” burst and bloom into rambunctious preambles loaded with subtly changing parts shrouded in voluptuous, groove-driven nods. The staccato strings in “Sis” rock the house down to the foundation with the cadence of drunken power tools.
Traditional number “Motherless Child” unfolds with Morricone-esque majesty and a rework of Chatham’s “Guitar Trio” injects a tried and true approach to blue-collar Americana with a progressive and exploratory splendor.

In extracting the “awe shucks” sensibilities of the working man’s music February revives the dead language of the blues and transforms it into a shimmering, avant-garde barrel down Hwy 61 with nothing but the riff behind the wheel.

-- Chad Radford

Originally published by Creative Loafing, 10/05. Re-edited by Chad Radford.