Blues Control

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Blues Control (2007), 6.5/10
Puff (2007), 6/10 (EP)
Local Flavor (2009), 7/10 (EP)
Valley Tangents (2012), 6 (mini)

New York's duo Blues Control (keyboardist Lea Cho and guitarist Russ Waterhouse) mixed garage-rock, sound effects and ambient world-music on the all-instrumental Blues Control (Holy Mountain, 2007). The intro Blues Control is a brief hyper-distorted rock jam that evokes Summertime Blues as performed by Blue Cheer and blasted via defective loudspeakers. Another garage rave-up is deconstructed in Frankie's Problem, this time via gamelan-like percussion and keyboards. The six-minute Boiled Peanuts is a jazzy and exotic tribal dance for looped piano, percussion and guitar. A similar warped-jazz atmosphere permeates the brief The Blue Sheep. The guitar blabbers among droning and fluttering keyboard sounds in the seven-minute Migration. Hummum opens a third front with its abstract mural of aquatic electronics and percussion. Finally, the nine-minute No Sweat unleashes a hard-rock riff that gets looped over and over again, wrapped around dissonant keyboards, and ends abruptly in a percussion ensemble.

The five-song mini-album Puff (Woodsist, 2007 - Fusetron, 2008) contains even more disorienting pieces such as Puff, a sonata for reverbed and looped sounds, containing Behind the Skies. The 12-minute Always On Time weaves in the mix also a jazzy piano and a rocking guitar. Minimalist repetition seems to be the new strategy of the duo. Behind the Skies does it for seven minutes to a bluesy guitar riff against bigger doses of background noise. Call Collect is musique concrete that refines found sounds into a cycle of hushed beats. End Zone is the exception to the rule: a hendrix-ian glissando rips apart the ambient cosmic music laid down by the keyboards. The influence of world-music had largely disappeared.

The four-song mini-album Local Flavor (Siltbreeze, 2009) upped the ante. Good Morning is a lively shuffle fueled by the most vibrant guitar riff of their career, with counterpoint of relentless boogie piano and pseudo-horns. Rest On Water is a dreamy and spaced-out free-form jam. The eight-minute Tangier returned to the minimalist repetition for a percussive dance with swirling Terry Riley-ian keyboards. For eight minutes On Through The Night sounds like a remix of Bach's keyboard partitas, then diluted in an ocean of ambient/cosmic drones. It then mutates abruptly into a syncopated percussive jam, which in turn segues into a mystical guitar-driven meditation. The four pieces constitute a compendium of everything that Blues Control does best.

Frkwys Vol.8 (Rvng, 2011) documents a collaboration between Laraaji and Blues Control.

The mini-album Valley Tangents (2012) is packed with clever ideas. Their electronic hyper-fusion had become the most creative way of recasting the prog-rock of the 1970s into the digital age. Lea Cho's keyboards frequently steal the show.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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