Lee Ranaldo with Dave Dyent – New Life After Fire (for Tom Thompson)
This was a live recording made at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on 2001-09-05, the sounds and voices of which were accompaniment to experimental films made by Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth, of course), with sampler embellishments from Toronto-based artist Dyment. I snagged this simply for curiosity’s sake. I knew it would be way out there, with Ranaldo involved, and I was also interested to know how it could be connected to Tom Thompson (of Group Of Seven), although Dyment might have had a hand in that choice? We may never know.
This disc contains five Fires, ranging from four minutes to ten minutes in length, all of them odd experiments with sounds, static, and voice. They range from quiet moments to full-on blasts of noise. Nothing much that’s tuneful in the lot of these tracks. I imagine that it would have been more interesting to have been there for this performance. Having the visuals to accompany the sounds would probably help immensely. The disc by itself is pretty boring, and drags up the whole debate about ‘what is art?’ Can sitting around (possibly pretentiously) making random noises with a mixer and a guitar be considered art? Well, why not. If people want to see it and hear it, power to the artist. Laurie Anderson would love this. It didn’t do much for me, but I’m just one guy.
And now I’ve done that.
Wikipedia lists this as a Thurston Moore effort. The packaging on this CD clearly says Ranaldo, and Moore’s name is nowhere on it, not even in the thanks. Still, anything’s possible with these guys. I’m sure some SY fan out there knows way more about this than I’d ever care to know.