Charles Hayward and Thurston Moore: Improvisations (Care in the Community) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Charles Hayward and Thurston Moore


Care in the Community

Dec 22, 2017 Charles Hayward and Thurston Moore Bookmark and Share

Not long before Sonic Youth deconstructed the entirety of Western music, This Heat decimated the pop song structure like scissors shredding paper into hundreds of little pieces that scattered in every possible direction. They approached punk music with a more artful ear, avoiding the anthemic slogans in exchange for sonic discord. Inspired more by Can than any of its punk contemporaries, the band fused tape loops to noise, creating a music that was both heavy and improvisational.

Likewise, Sonic Youth made music from a marriage between The Ramones and atonal guitar sounds greatly indebted to Glenn Branca’s symphonies of reviled noise. Withstanding the perils of falling into obscurity, Sonic Youth adapted pop structures to their then experimental sound, thus growing and maintaining a strong fan base for nearly 40 years.

As wisdom and time divide This Heat’s drummer Charles Hayward and Thurston Moore from their original artistic intentions, they arrive at a point to create an album entitled Improvisations, that is lined in layers of everything that influenced them, from free jazz to John Cage-like improvisations, in a single afternoon. Even though their trademark sounds stick out like fingerprints in an ongoing crime scene, there is little to salvage from their efforts other than a jam session that should have remained private.

“Track One”all tracks are untitledstruggles to find a discernible rhythm between the two maestros. Hayward makes viable attempts to communicate with Moore. He pounds out rhythms to entice him to create monstrous, noisy riffs. Instead, the track wavers on for nearly five minutes before they establish a chemistry worthy of their abilities. Once they find a foundational point midway through it, it drags on into oblivion past the 10-minute point. Once the track concludes, what remains is a curiosity as to what their intentions were to begin with.

“Track Three” is a reactionary piece that, on occasion, demonstrates the potential of a meaningful and resourceful engagement, yet again aimlessly continues on in an unkempt garden of skronk and indistinct distortion. Tense, but more fluid than the other tracks, Moore conjures a classic rock riff to match Hayward’s intricate rhythms. They attempt to connect with one another, and Hayward seizes upon Moore’s groove. Unfortunately, Moore fails to recognize Hayward’s motivations, leaving him behind as he wanders off onto irreconcilable pathways.

Equally appalling is “Track 4’s” eagerness to sound like a third-rate Kienholz cover. The major difference is that their abilities to sustain anything interesting, even to fans of experimental music, is that Moore and Hayward never make a concerted attempt to communicate with each other, which is paramount in improvisational music. Both seem too eager to make their voices known instead of finding common ground. The end result is a piece that is unresolved and delusional.

Improvisations is an abject failure shared equally by both men with little risk of damage to their longstanding reputations. Lucky for them, few will ever hear this album, and for the few who risk listening to it, I can assure you that there is no reward. (

Author rating: 3/10

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Average reader rating: 2/10


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