JIM O’ROURKE & NOT WAVING Side A/Side B gets 7/10

Jim O’Rourke & Not Waving
Side A/Side B


Things get positively schizo on this split 12” from master musician Jim O’Rourke, who provides a serious reworking of music from Not Waving. The latter is Alessio Natalizia, an Italian electronic artist living in London, whereas O’Rourke (the experimentalist of Sonic Youth and Wilco fame) is a Chicagoan who relocated to Japan a decade ago along with a move towards electronic based composition (i.e. his Steamroom series of releases). The two resulting, lengthy double A-side showcase the two extremes of electronic possibilities: one ambient and lush, one edgy and dark.

Side A is a long ambient piece, with several unresolved synth lines intertwining slowly over 15 minutes. There’s something magical about such works; the way that not really much seems to happen, yet it’s capable of transporting the mind to places only imagined. O’Rourke’s synth tones are soft yet highly chromatic in the way they seem to reflect each other as the lines interact with each other over the duration of the track.

Side B is completely different, adding a dull thud as a pounding beat, manic stabs and a fluttering synth sounding as though this track positively came from an Autechre-like part of the universe. The synth line begins tightly coiled around itself at the start, but gradually, begrudgingly even, opens out over the length of the track. At some point the kick and cymbal sounds recede, leaving the tendrils of the knotted synth lines to eventually dissipate over an extremely long and gradual fade-out.

This split 12” is a pleasure unto itself, but can also serve as a gateway to both artists’ expansive electronic catalogues.