CE Schneider Topical is a collaborative project between Christina Schneider and Zach Phillips. I was already mad stoked to hear this record knowing of the duo’s work backing up fellow experimental pop weirdos like Jib Kidder and Maher Shalal Hash Baz, but man-oh-man are my expectations far surpassed by songs/sounds on Look Who Showed Up Out Here. This release is music that is meticulously loose sounding; melodically and harmonically gorgeous songs arranged to allow for all sorts of carefully placed instrumentation and noise to creep in.
If you can imagine the angular melodies of the Curtains, and the destructive whimsy of the Olivia Tremor Control, filtered through the reductionist pop of Ruth Garbus’ work you might have somewhat of an idea of what’s going on here, but even that doesn’t really do CE Schneider Topical justice. The singularity of the music here seems to largely stem from the full realization of Phillips’ notion of “open session rock”.
In the addendum written for the record, Schneider and Phillips explain how some of the music came to be made and essentially their approach seems to be an almost unconscious attempt at applying experimental music practices to pop forms. Phillips and Schneider treat these gorgeous tunes as items that are only “partially stable” and by letting the sonic elements of different worlds rear their heads, they give this music an infinite potential to change and never quite be truly known.
Between cite>Look Who Showed Up Here and Phillips’ work with Chris Weisman as Better Psychics, the emergent “open session rock” has begun to take form in two very different ways and both are fascinating to behold.
Look Who Showed Up Here is out on OSR Tapes on November 10. You can listen to excerpts of the record below and watch the video for “Growing Back” above.