DISTRO // WHITE OUT - Asphalt And Delay LP
“Asphalt And Delay”
(AUDIOMER, BELGIUM, 350 COPIES, NEW)
Tom Surgal and Lin Culbertson are downtown people by birth. Their locale is important to what they do, as they have internalised the NYC tradition to the point that whatever they do has both a jazz attitude and a beatnik vibe that is fully innate and thus also fully realised. So when I say that this record sounds like both Sun Ra jamming with a brigade of organ-grinder's monkeys, and the unreleased second part of Leave The City by the Coaquette faction of MEV, these are both good things.
There is space here, as well as compressed narrative concentration. The key track is “Daughter Of The Mind”, where Culbertson's wordless vocalising floats across drifts of precussive tinkering as a buzzing synthesiser desultorily duels with occasional blurts of autoharp. Gradually the synth becomes more demanding as the percussion sharpens its forward momentum and the vocal becomes an insistent but wordless supplication to some unnamed deity.
The breadth of texture and timbre deployed here is staggering, the sheer freedom of construction is exhilarating, and the economy of means with which it is realised radically defines the level of expertise and taste on display. Surgal is one of the under-recognised greats of free drumming, and Culbertson's daring instrumental freefalling without a parachute is without peer. In the field of free improvisation, where dilettante tinkering is distressingly common these days, White Out have planted their freak flag proudly in the midst of battle, daring all comers.
By Bruce Russell “The Wire”