Where the jams of last year’s Rangda full-length (Formerly Extinct) were bone dry in production and taut in execution – even the passages of improvisation felt as though they were carved out of desert rock – their contribution to this new split is soft and fluid; a slackening exhalation and blissful flexing of the limbs, relieving the demand for absolute precision with a wondrous outpour of pure improvisation. Drummer Chris Corsano edges back towards the guise in which I know him most (playing rhythmic propulsion for duos Jailbreak and Flower/Corsano), tumbling off his snare drum into little flecks of cymbal, keeping the music trundling forward like a boat sidling up and down on the ocean waves. Meanwhile, guitarists Ben Chasny and Sir Richard Bishop roll around over the top, indulging in a ceaseless, over-lapping conversation, coaxing the music into a euphoric major-key escalation during “Gracilaria” and drifting through minor-key plateau during “Sancticallist”.
Then the spitting powerchords of Dead C kick in, and the improvisatory free-flow crunches to a halt. Programmed drums and guitars slide across eachother like tectonic plates – grinding in sickening tempo mismatch – while vocals drawl somewhere in between; there’s the spirit of a song somewhere in “EUSA Kills”, although it’s deteriorated into rust and broken parts by the time it reaches this split. Elsewhere, ungated guitar hiss spills over volcanic purrs of noise, choked frets form angular spiderwebs cast across jaunty rimshots, loose feedback and distorted loops spray into the high frequencies like a firehose, as Dead C find perverse harmony in their confusion of ideas – a glorious sense of connection arises out of a chaotic, multi-directional heave, and there are points where the band sound both intimately engaged and lost to the world simultaneously. Great stuff on both sides, exploring virtuosic musicality on the first side and the power of self-imposed ineptitude on the second.