SCRATCH MATCH [Penumbra]
By Kevin Lian Anderson
MICHAEL ZERANG/RAYMOND STRID
The playful mock fisticuffs of the cover photo notwithstanding, Chicagoan Zerang and Stockholm native Strid deliver some solid knockout punches over the course of seven rounds of percussive tumble and grind. From the opening jabs and flurries of ‘Left Clever Right Battle’ to the closing bell of ‘Stereo Knuckle’, the burly duo bang, beat, scratch, shake, and agitate seemingly every conceivable surface their instruments (and the studio) had to offer. A scenario like this might induce some heavy-duty eye rolling, but it is surprising how much texture and variety is squeezed out of the proceedings. Aching, resonant screams of bowed metal evoke an aging pugilist’s straining muscles as he trains in an antiquated gym filled with the curious thuds, pings, and rattles of rusty, creaking conditioning contraptions. Rarely does someone actually strike a drum head in a manner which approaches an orthodox (if greatly abbreviated) rhythm. Much of this would not be out of place as source material for a Nurse With Wound release or on a record by, say, trickster saxophonist Mats Gustafsson – mutual sparring partner of both Zerang and Strid – through whose good offices this collaboration was initiated.
[PO Box 282 Grafton, WI 53024, USA; firstname.lastname@example.org]