Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2020 October 12 • Monday

The 643rd Soundtrack of the Week is the score for Girl on the Third Floor by Alison Chesley, Tom Midyett and Steve Albini.

It's on transparent blood-spattered vinyl!

It opens with "17 arrow 43", a soundscape that suggests bad things happening at night. There's some industrail DNA in the music and some admirable noise being made with electric guitars.

"XVI Dry" uses guitars to create an atmosphere, part overdrive and attack, part tremolo and resonance, in which Chesley's cello is the main voice, expressing plaintive looping figures.

After that comes more shadowy crushing sounds from the electric guitars, this time with some percussion as well, in "Line 55".

Then there's an 18-minute, track, "Irish", which has a similar concept to what's come before but is more stretched out and has some sludgy grungy harmonic movement to it as well as some skronky cello playing and guest vocals by Gaelynn Lea.

By the time you get to the next track, "XVI Standard", you start to recognize the theme. Deliberate asecending lines that circle back to their starting point, tough and unusual electric guitar tones, lyrical and sometimes more abrasive cello playing, senses of space and restraint and composed minimalism as well as loud rock abandon.

"Line 54" is a slab of drony, distorted, shimmering sound.

There's a sense of breathing to "Sparky's Revenge" as the instruments come in and out, swelling and deflating. This is followed by the more insistent but still very steady and patient approach of "Bees".

Things get a bit more meditative and calming with "Line 62" and the guitars, while still sounding noirish and dangerous, have an almost comforting lushness to them.

Long low tones from the cello are the eseence of "Line 64", with a little assistance from electric guitars and some other elements.

"Line 70" dives back into some noisy freak out territory and then the record concludes with the unexpectedly dreamy and even sunny "Line 71", which uses bells and cello to create an almost pastoral feel. It wraps up in a beautiful unity.