Jeff McLeod

By on 19 June, 2018 in Art, Kate and Stephen, Music with 0 Comments

It has been a few years since we wrote about our favorite local “weird noise maker,” Jeff McLeod.

Back in 2015, we talked about the diverse set of musical projects from McLeod that drove us to go see a performance at The Sanctuary (432 S. Goldthwaite). Before that, we were writing up his confrontational and sometimes dissonant albums. And since the weather outdoors is quickly moving towards “unsafe for human life,” we started poking around in some of McLeod’s diverse back catalog of music and thought we’d share some more of it with our readers, many of whom complain that there’s no good music in town.

McLeod, who, let’s be clear, probably isn’t for everyone, describes himself here. And although we consider ourselves to be open to innumerable kinds of sonic art, we’ll confess that the recent email from his Subversive Workshops didn’t leave us clamoring for “twisted black metal / experimental terror” nor a fifth volume of self-described “joyless noise” that is summarized as follows:

You float through the void in your doomed ship, your mates all dead, biding your time staring into a dim mirror, repulsed and entranced by a hideous reflection.

Nonetheless, as happens with online rabbit holes, we started poking around through McLeod recordings that we had not yet encountered and came across 2012’s project “Burst Into Dust,” which was recorded as a duo called gowith. According to the Bandcamp page where you can enjoy the music for free, “gowith takes acoustic and electric guitar drone to another dimension, getting lost within the moment and the notes and the sound and the sound.”

If the previous descriptions made your skin crawl, this may the McLeod album for you. It’s nine tracks long, giving you the full album experience (we’re not big fans of folks releasing music one song at a time). And it’s soothing music that you can have in the background while you’re working, or sitting on a pier with a line in the water, or cruising down a country road with the windows down.

The album, entirely acoustic aside from some off-mic banter, opens with what sounds like an adding machine gone haywire, but don’t let the staccato dissonance scare you away. The meandering guitars are eventually laid back and resonant. The opening track, “For Pay You What Get You,” is an invitation: acoustic and warm, unlike the audio attacks of so much of McLeod’s other work.

Again, this is high brow stuff. The second track’s title refers to avant guard composer Glenn Branca, so you remain assured that McLeod (and co-consiprator Marshall Marrotte) remain interested in the limits of sound. But because it sounds like something that could be played by a couple of guitarists in your living room, it’s accessible. And evidently, that’s where the album was recorded — in some living room in Atlanta. The seams of the recording are visible. The subtle chord changes on the guitar strings are audible. It’s perfectly human music an an age where most everything feels over-produced.

Montgomery needs a venue for live performances of music like this — something that’s not going to sell a lot of booze for a smoke-filled bar, something that people will want to sit and be patient with. The general audience that just wants to sing along with catchy hooks is certainly larger than the one who wants to hear a song fall out of tune, then fall apart apart altogether, and then be put back together. But there is an audience for the latter, at least in our house.

So, give “Burst Into Dust” a chance if you’re open to music with a Montgomery connection that is willing to take risks. It’s a few years old, but the great thing about music is that it can live forever, and you can at any point discover it for the first time. And if McLeod’s newer stuff is too abrasive for you, gowith’s “Burst Into Dust” is a nice side project. Some of its paths are meandering and slow. There may be a few missteps along the way (the stammering gaps of “Time in a Broken Bottle” are potential moments to drift away), but the overall result is a welcome and generally tranquil experience with some vibrating strings.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *