Expo 70 – Black Ohms (Beta/Lactam Ring Records)
If you are willing to wait and keep listening eventually your music will find you. It will come to you from sometimes unlikely sources. A few seconds overheard on the radio blasting from a passing car. A snatch of melody on some jukebox in a bar. Maybe it’s a friend who loans you a disc and says, “I think you’ll dig this”. Whatever the byways and highways that lead your music to you, you’ll recognize it as your own almost immediately. Some twist of sound will push a deeply buried genetic part of you and waves of excitement will pulse through your brain. I heard it once with Jane’s Addiction’s first live EP on a New Year’s Eve about a million years ago. Then it came to me while falling through the infinite layers of Terry Riley’s circular drones. Now I’ve heard it again. Expo 70’s new disc, “Black Ohms” is such an all encompassing and overwhelming listen that at times you’ll find the need to back up a bit and delineate what’s actually vibrating, your body or the music. This intimacy and warmth are combined with an alien fingerprint that beckons you to move ever deeper into these sounds.
I would classify Expo 70’s music as immersive. You become an explorer of these sonic caves and the discoveries are always breathtaking. I’ve been digging quite a few of the handful of CD-r’s Expo 70 has put out lately and they are all of a high quality. The usual strategy is a guitar line that reverberates and wriggles into ever widening ripples which eventual bounce back against newer sounds and create overlapping and chiming tones of goodness. The overall signal is kept fairly clean and hence the freakiness comes in by way of the delayed-out overtones. The whole kit and caboodle ends up sounding Kraut Rocky good with a dose of Circle when they are truly circling. If that were all Expo 70 had to offer it would be enough. But there’s more! Weird clankings and fizzy lifting drink buzzes evolve out of the background. They swirl and bubble into shape only to recede and add yet more layers to the hazy architecture of the sound.
On “Black Ohms” all of the forms have been rewritten. There is a molten weight coursing through the veins of these drones. These are “Black” Ohms for sure. Never content to simply let the music ride in a SunnO))) style doom zone, this beehive soundtrack fractures into kaleidoscopic sequences that hovers in space like a congregation of astral whales. Deep pulses clash with dirty buzzings leaving you in an odd state of tension and relaxation. This disc is a deeply satisfying listen. It fleshes out the sound of Expo 70’s other releases with a dark and brooding sonic palette and is long enough to provide you with either an inner or outer space moment.