Bill Nace and Kim Gordon asked me to write something about their new LP/EP record on Bill’s Open Mouth label. This is what I wrote:
Body/Head emerged rather quietly in 2011 with the Fractured Orgasm cassette, a murky document released in an edition of 150 that sounded like a degraded photocopy, mysterious and alluring, just out of reach. They appeared on the Ultra Eczema Fever compilation, then released a remarkable 7”, “The Eyes, The Mouth”/ “The Night of the Ocean,” on the same label. Now comes this record, their strongest statement yet. So much more than a “likely pairing,” this is a group which manages to illuminate the best of both players while simultaneously pushing them into fresh territory.
Live shows have been accompanied by slowed films, and the pair’s obsession with cinema comes across in the music. The pieces exist as vignettes in and of themselves, all the while presenting a full-bodied emotional narrative over the course of the record’s 20 minutes. It’s fascinating to hear Nace and Gordon develop these ideas, to hear relatively simple pulses, stabs, moans, and calls take shape as something almost like songs. There is a strange terror to this music. Electric shards punch through and shatter the air. There is agonizing pain living in the guitars and genuine anguish in Gordon’s voice. It is some of the most courageous and emotive singing of her career.
This is some of the most fantastically elastic music currently being produced, shifting form and formlessness without batting an eye. Like the best art, it exists out beyond the limits of what we can easily define. It’s as pained as it is curious, as free as it is claustrophobic, full of spellbinding tension throughout, from the sparse opening of “Turn Me On” to the intensely moving and breathtakingly sad closer, “Where Did You Go?,” a track that’s as good as anything either player has ever put to tape. It’s so scary and so sad, so tender and so angry, a consummate example of what both musicians are capable of, the capstone to a sequence so satisfying one wants to just play it again. The music changes shape with each listen, behind each shadow lives another melting perspective.
Beautifully pressed at 45rpm, the fullness and depth of sound and feeling come through loud and clear. This record is a complete picture, a blurry pool at night, a short story to revisit over and over again.