Cages - Anti Realist [død univers - 2011]Anti Realist is the third volume of live recordings by Cages from Buffalo, NY, who describe themselves as creators of unstructured, post-noise, post-music. Each of its seven tracks sees Nola Ranallo pitch her vocals against David Bailey’s guitar and noises with semi-frequent embellishments from bass player Patrick Bolger and saxophonist Steve Baczowski.
Initially this unstructured mode sees disjointed percussion, full of scrapes, shakes and wrenching, behave like the twisted metal musings of a sonic sculpture. But when Ranallo’s vocals rise out from behind a siren wail, the similarities in tone and phrasing to Björk, especially when in full flight, is unavoidable. But by the third track, ‘Psalm to Mother’, the association has faded away bringing to the fore a tunnel of simmering guitar fighting off invasive scrapes of glass and metal before settling down into a clubbable Portishead-like blues plodder replete with guitar solo.
While side one of the cassette meandered through loosely structured song underscored by independent, unrelated noises to arrive at an approximation of a blues standard, side two felt more integrated and original. It opens with an untitled track whose subtle creaks and shuffles are untainted by an amazingly silent audience allowing Ranallo’s voice to travel a full range from tentative caution to impassioned pleas. Meanwhile Bailey’s guitar gradually grows a fertile feedback, seemingly to imitate and compliment the rise and fall of the wailing vocals. By the time of the penultimate track, ‘Burial’, the guitar work feels positively schizophrenic as it wrestles between noise freedom and more traditional rockist gestures, before letting loose on the final, climactic wall of dark guitar noise appropriately titled ‘Cavern’.
While these rough jams are very much a hit and miss affair – the one reliable product of unstructured approaches – Anti Realist remains an interesting, if inelegant, sample of live experiments that toy at the cusp of rock and noise.Russell Cuzner