Feb 05, 2009, 09:07AM

Not just for guitarists

Two heady veterans of contemporary guitar collaborate on an eclectic record.

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You probably know Jim O'Rourke for his recording and production work with, well, pretty much every significant band of the last 15 years. No, seriously; you can scroll through a full discography here. He's played with Illusion of Safety, Gastr Del Sol and, most notably, Sonic Youth. And he's hands-down one of the most impressive experimental guitarists playing today, along with Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, and John Scofield—let's just ignore unlistenable shredders like Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, et al. So when O'Rourke pairs up, now for the third time, with equally accomplished guitarist Loren Connors, you know you're guaranteed some damn fine music.

Past collaborations between O'Rourke and Connors include In Bern and Hoffman Estates. What's really impressive here is that Connors was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease back in 1992, which has forced him to be more and more restrained in his playing—though on this latest collaboration, Two Nice Catholic Boys, it hasn't kept Connors from tearin' up some truly impressive noise rock. The three tracks, which run about 47 minutes combined, follow the same basic pattern: four or five minutes of distorted wailing followed by some softer reverb-y back-and-forth between the two. I wouldn't call it just music for guitarists, but for anyone who's not into some ambient instrumental rock, you won't find a lot here you'll like. It's also about as dark and depressing as ambient instrumental rock can get, so...

Recommended situations for listening to Two Nice Catholic Boys: Midwest cattle drives; 3 a.m. rides through Anytown, USA; shooting heroin and passing out in the bathroom stall of some truck stop outside Gary, Indiana.

"Most Definitely not Koln"



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