[2 April 2009]
Three long guitar abstractions, recorded on a 1997 European tour. The variety of drama, calm, fuzz, clarity, feedback and melody will thrill those familiar with either of these cult figures. Newcomers, won’t regret becoming well acquainted with either artist.
O’Rourke’s career breadth renders his work and influence ridiculously immeasurable. He’s been in Gastr del Sol, Loose Fur and Sonic Youth, advised on School of Rock, and covered Ivor Cutler. His collaborations include Derek Bailey and Flying Saucer Attack, he’s mixed everyone from Faust to Judee Sill, even making Wilco briefly interesting in the process (and their subsequent recruitment of Nels Cline has O’Rourke all over it). He’s made shorts, scored a Werner Hertzog film, and titled three of his own solo albums after Nic Roeg movies.
Despite that, O’Rourke is invisible to most people. Connors is even less well known, but his singular guitar playing (on more than 50 albums under various guises also including Guitar Roberts, Loren Mazzacane, and Loren Mattei) is as worthy of attention. Two Nice Catholic Boys is by turns dizzying, pretty, raw and cathartic. Bemused or underwhelmed newer listeners might start with the heartbreaking simplicity of Connors’ Evangeline or As Roses Bow: Collected Airs 1992-2002, with O’Rourke’s Insignificance, and either the first Loose Fur or any of the Gastr del Sol discs. Trivia buffs will note the recent reference to O’Rourke’s Halfway To A Threeway EP by Max Tundra on his witty recent track “Will Get Fooled Again”.