[18 September 2008]
I Heart Lung is an L.A. based drone/free-jazz project started by Chris Schlarb and Tim Steck formed in 2004. With several low-radar releases under their belt, the duo has been picked up by the Lander, Wyoming, label Asthmatic Kitty (Sufjan Stevens, Castanets) for Interoceans—a sincere, minimalist bit of free jazz/drone. Over 4 tracks and 44 minutes, Schlarb creates the reverb-laden drones surrounded by Steck’s Interstellar Space-era Coltrane/Rashied Ali aesthetic. By providing a rhythmic backbone filling up space where a bass might reside, Steck is able to give Interoceans its free-jazz drive (along with the contributions of Kris Tiner on trumpet), creating explosive kit work after built up acoustic textures and melodic drones, but always attending to the mood of the record, and the timing is impeccable. “Interoceans II (Underwelling)” features guitar-extrodinaire and Wilco member Nels Cline, whose contributions to any recording are above stellar, playing a sitar-induced hum. Interoceans is a silent hum among a loud bustle of hype-surrounded recordings. Completely self-effacing, flawlessly organized, and painfully emotional, I Heart Lung may not be catering to a sizeable audience, but they created an album that is uncompromising in its vision and audacity—an achievement much greater than money-induced success.