[28 July 2010]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Considering their other musical output, it should surprise no one that members of Rangda have given us something wide-open and intricate on their first record, False Flag. The album vacillates between brash squalls of guitar noise and moodier atmospheric pieces, and those two sides show us both the virtuoso noodling of guitarist Sir Richard Bishop (from Sun City Girls) and, contrastingly, the layered craftsmanship we’ve come to expect from Ben Chasny in his work as Six Organs of Admittance. So while Chasny and Bishop seem to trade turns, it makes for an uneven listen. But that unevenness actually works in the album’s favor. You’re constantly caught off guard, and Chris Corsano’s brilliant drumming—he can create chaos or restore order with the snap of a snare—gives the album just enough order to keep it from unraveling wholly. Instead, what we get is equal parts blast and rumination, huge spaces and clustered-up tangles. It all merges in the epic, 15-minute closer “Plain of Jars”, where each of these brilliant players manages to show off their chops without ever upstaging one another. It’s not surprising that these guys are all capable of making great music in the same room, but the odd sort of chemistry they’ve created in just a short time comes shining through on False Flag. So while you won’t find many answers in all these tumbling notes, it’s awful fun to sift through them and find new questions.