Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo – The Quietus, 2012

Conducted in March 2012. Read the full article.

From the piece:

It seems that for Lee Ranaldo, music is a constellation of ideas. He’s one of those rare musicians who has genuinely pushed musical boundaries, having taken the art of noise into mainstream rock with Sonic Youth. And yet on his new solo record, Between The Times & The Tides, Ranaldo has left behind a 30-year-plus association with dissonance – the dark element in a world of tonic harmonies – for a set of catchy, poppy tunes that establish a new aspect in his career, a new musical character.

If Sonic Youth are tonally expansive, they’re also sometimes difficult, immersively noisy, almost nausea-inducing; music to be experienced, perhaps, but not always pleasant. The same goes for Ranaldo’s solo work to date, which often lacked the song structures with which Sonic Youth bridged the gap between abstraction and the mainstream. It’s focused on the sonic event and its conceptual underpinnings; Randaldo’s methods range from growing mushrooms on blank score paper to create graphic scores (in tribute to John Cage) to sending distorted guitars into frenzied walls of sound.

All in all, it’s been an more extreme take on the Sonic Youth sound, resembling and sometimes outdoing their SYR series of experimental albums. Do the simple melodies and nicely phrased lyrics of Between The Times & The Tides indicate a new craving to write ‘proper’ songs?

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