One of the most fascinating aspects of Kevin Drumm’s and Jason Lescalleet’s respective discographies can be found in their constant shifts in style. The first disc of Lescalleet’s Songs About Nothing alone is a great example of his ability to work with everything from brain-melting psychoacoustics to chopped-and-screwed hip-hop beats to nearly imperceptible field recordings. Drumm’s work tends to be more stylistically focused from album to album, but he’s produced everything from haunting synth-based ambient music to some of the harshest digital noise imaginable. Both musicians, however, have an uncanny knack for collaboration. Drumm’s ultra-restrained work with Taku Sugimoto and Lescalleet’s sensitive processing work with Graham Lambkin are prime examples of how these two artists are able to adapt their aesthetics to context.
All of this begs the question: what would a Lescalleet/Drumm collaboration sound like? Whose voice and what style will take the lead in a collaborative situation, where both artists are capable of adapting to any compositional circumstance? The answer presented in the release of the duo’s two-track “digital 7-inch” The Invisible Curse is actually quite surprising.
Of course, there is a handful of the duo’s hallmark sonics (slowed-down looped tapes, cutting frequencies, etc.), but the overall soundworld presented here is not only quite unlike anything in either artists’ catalog, but it’s also very often pretty. “Invisible” begins and ends with a lovely loop that gets destroyed about midway through, only to be rebuilt with all of the elements of its destruction present; while on “The Curse,” an almost Nuno Canavarro-esque opening gives way to a Macintosh Plus-esque sample that Drumm/Lescalleet ride for the rest of the piece.
Then again, perhaps it’s not surprising that they’ve taken on a new approach. Even though The Invisible Curse may not be what one might imagine, Drumm and Lescalleet have proven themselves to be especially permeable in collaborative situations, making their careers out of subverting their very own styles if required. And on The Invisible Curse, they warp their own sounds into something new entirely.
You can stream and/or download The Invisible Curse below, and be sure to check out Jason Lescalleet at one of his many shows in the next week (including one on 9/24 at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill and one on 9/25 at Neptune’s in Raleigh).