Posts Tagged ‘Jim O’Rourke’

Loose Fur - credit: Stefano Giovannini

Jeff never disappoints. Totally dig everything he’s done. This is no different. Great record.  The “supergroup” featuring Jim O’Rourke, Glenn Kotche, and Jeff Tweedy, who all together make Loose Fur ! If you were ever curious, their debut, self-titled record leaves no doubt – these dudes can really fuckin’ play!

Recorded during downtime on “Foxtrot” and refined in the two years since, however, this experiment mostly serves to reinforce what we’re already well aware of: Jeff Tweedy’s formidable strength as a songwriter, the pervasive nuance of O’Rourke’s by-now trademark production, and Glenn Kotche’s unconventional, sometimes overly ambitious approach to percussion.

Oddly, the most predictable elements of Loose Fur are its most “arty” and “experimental”– songs that either follow the laws of entropy and dissolve in a rising swell of dissonance (Like the opener “Laminated Cat”) or defy them entirely, allowing melodies to emerge gradually from the sonic clutter (“So Long”). Despite its relative brevity (six cuts over forty minutes), Loose Fur establishes a familiar pattern early on, and it’s actually the more conventional music– exhibiting Tweedy and O’Rourke’s common soft spot for classic rock– that leaves a more lasting impression.

“Laminated Cat” will be instantly recognizable to Wilco archivists as a more sedate reading of the Foxtrot castoff “Not for the Season”. In its original incarnation the song was a somewhat generic rocker drawn by loops of distorted guitar and gently evocative laptopery into an improbable seven-minute jam. Tweedy’s lyrics are mostly incidental to the tidal pull of the rhythm and O’Rourke’s otherworldly fuzz– a stoner’s recognition of time passing exponentially faster, years spent accumulating piles of books “not worth reading.” Kotche’s percolating thumps grow progressively (and predictably) louder as the tune ambles self-consciously towards the imploding plastic inevitable.

Loose Fur released Domino Recording


Putting a break on its acoustic noise projects, crossed jazz and experimental electronics, Jim O’Rourke returned to a more conventional format, a pop album, but which is no less fascinating. After the huge Eureka (1999), we got bored of the man on the field of pop. As usual, he made ​​his Simple Songs much more than “just” pop-folk parts, Jim O’Rourke easily deviating from the chorus-verse form with precise guitar playing, subtle arrangements, instrumental flights, the All for a soft rock ambitious and neat.

Jim O’Rourke’s contributions to music the past few decades is substantial, though difficult to pinpoint – mainly because the songwriter/producer has dabbled everywhere from electro-acoustic and ambient works to rock and jazz, and a lot of places in-between. Whether via his contribution to acts like Sonic Youth or Wilco, or O’Rourke’s own extensive discography since the early ’90s, become acquainted with O’Rourke can seem understandably daunting. Simple Songs actually isn’t a bad place to start, as one of his more rock-oriented albums in some time. Conventional song structures and easily identifiable hooks – even on the first listen – provide somewhat of a contrast to other experimental work, but O’Rourke’s orchestral additions and and grimly direct delivery maintain his lovable uniqueness even in the most standard moments. Starting the album in melodically curmudgeon form – “Nice to see you once again/ Been a long time my friends/ Since you crossed my mind at all” – simply adds to his enduring charm.