Jody Harris/ Robert Quine – Escape (Sorcerer)


What immediately grabs you about this weird spiky work of duelling guitars and minimal drum machines is how different it sounds from every other album you’ve ever heard. The first piece, Flagpole Jitters is a statement of intent, the guitars sound ridiculously thin and synthetic and they’re unleashed in a torrent of skittering noise that just feels like it collapses in on itself. There’s no delay, no reverb, just these heavily treated notes that are like needle jabs. The rest of Escape is not always so sharp, and at times other fx do float in, where they can sound like everything from a stripped down electric blues band that’s lost its way, to some kind of Suicidesque synth punk or even 50’s rock and roll minus a few members. It’s raw, proudly so. It’s in your face. It seems proud of that also.

It’s from the 1981 New York no wave scene and was originally released on the label Infidelity. Jody Harris played guitar in the Contortions, Golden Palominos and The Raybeats and Robert Quine is well known for his work with Richard Hell, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, and John Zorn amongst numerous others. The album was recorded in Quine’s apartment.

There’s a real set and forget feel for the electronic percussion. Occasionally there’s bass. However this is very much a guitar record. It seems to be improvised, but adheres to musicality and song structures, whilst simultaneously exploding them which is no mean feat. It’s bristling with attitude. Some of the pieces don’t so much progress as strut with this incredible blues tinged electro groove. This punkish DIY feel brings to mind Suicide, but the spiky webs of guitar really overload the music, sending it hurtling into entirely new and unexpected directions.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.