I'm probably not the best person to write about Formerly Extinct, Rangda's follow-up to 2010's False Flag, as I don't have much of a history with the players: drummer Chris Corsano and guitarists Sir Richard Bishop (the Sun City Girls) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance), though I praised Chasny's latest record here. If his Ascent was a rock affair, Extinct is free jazz filtered through a rock sensibility. In other words: prog.
I gave it a try, and it isn't bad, but it isn't for me. While spinning the disc, I envisioned Ornette Coleman jamming with Calexico in Morocco. Or maybe the Southwest. There are no vocals, but rather an abundance of dusty, windswept waves of sound. An attractive image, I suppose, but I'd rather listen to this.
To me, it's like Steven Soderbergh's low-budget experiments: Full Frontal, Bubble, etc. Hardly his greatest films, but I believe those opportunities to cut loose made him a better filmmaker, and I suspect that Rangda feels just as necessary to these musicians, and will surely influence whatever projects they take on next.
The gents can play, and there's chemistry here, but it's like listening to a music lesson or a display of technical expertise (by contrast, I put on the Dirty Three's Towards the Low Sun afterward, and that instrumental release plays more like a fully realized album). I doubt that was their intention, and the record has been garnering praise, so your mileage may vary. That said, I get more pleasure from Alan Bishop's Alvarius B. persona (Alan, Richard's brother, also co-founded Sublime Frequencies). Guess I just prefer these guys in their rock garb.
This is more my speed. And just in time for James Bond's latest big-screen adventure.
For more on Rangda, click here. Formerly Extinct is out now on Drag City.