André Foisy and Jacob Essak's live collaboration is a memory of a time and place. Recorded in early 2015, the Locrian and Sun Splitter (respectively) guitarists joined forces in a "Chicago underground royalty" collaboration at the third and final Utech Records Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was a time when experimental music in Chicago was a great unifier -- Locrian and Sun Splitter shows had become ordeals which people would literally go out of their way to attend (I know I would venture 30 miles at least just to see them). Weird music was no longer underground, Locrian having released LPs on Relapse Records and Sun Splitter's industrial hell had made it from obscure CDrs onto power electronics legend Mark Solotroff's BloodLust! Label. Though I was sadly not in attendance for this installment of the Utech Festival series, which featured performances by Mamiffer, House of Low Culture, Horseback, James Plotkin and John Mueller, and more over the five years it existed, Foisy and Essak's collaboration was a final "coming together" of two powerhouses in the Chicago experimental scene before Locrian finally spread across the country (Foisy having relocated to New York) and Sun Splitter quietly disbanded.

The blissful desert-drone found within Foisy and Essak's Flight of Rays is uncomplicated, focusing more on texture and ambiance than the actual mechanics of the guitars which comprise the music itself. Foisy and Essak feed off of each other, venturing through glittering memories of melody and dense, organ-like drones, the increasingly abstract Flight of Rays maintains a meditative center, a single drone which defines its 20 minute existence. Though undoubtedly live music, as in a living, breathing piece of sound, what is captured here feels more like a photograph of something profound and filled with nuance. The aphorism claims pictures to possess a thousand words, then what of an audio recording? Surely, this piece of Chicago experimental history will be hallowed by those who remember.

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Flight of Rays releases September 18th on Utech Records (preorder here).


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