Bill Orcutt: Bill Orcutt (Palilalia) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020  

Bill Orcutt

Bill Orcutt


Jul 04, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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After nearly a decade spent exploring post-noise American Primitive guitar moves on a dubiously functional acoustic with missing strings, Bill Orcutt finds its titular protagonist dragging electricity back into the mix. Rather than blow us out of the room, though (as he may've back in his days with '90s confusion-core paragons Harry Pussy), Orcutt here uses the electric guitar's possibilities for space and sustain to explore new, sometimes surprisingly palatable (to normie ears, I mean) vistas. The scrape and moan of Orcutt's previous solo work is muted and relatively tamed, but this does nothing to make it less interesting, even as it increases his potential appeal to fans of jazzier explorers like Nels Cline and Henry Kaiser.

Most of the cuts here are very liberally interpreted standards: "Ol Man River," "When You Wish Upon a Star," and the like, along with a deep dive into the Ornette Coleman chestnut "Lonely Woman." Orcutt dances around the melodies and stretches song structures like taffy, strategically dipping hints of the source material just when you think he's lost the script. Sometimes, he'll still drag you stumbling into brambles of atonal gnarl, which might not go over great at Starbucks, but most hip jazz clubs would be less freaked out by it than Orcutt's prior work. As they say at Guitar Center, he's got great tone, and that goes a long way.

Bill Orcutt remains a record for the adventurous, sure, but it's his furthest cry from Harry Pussy yet. It's delicate, varied, and yeah, mature. As they also say at Guitar Center, I guess this is growing up. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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