Jon Mueller & James Plotkin, Terminal Velocity 2xLP

There are a lot of records in the minimalist, experimental, electronic and drone fields that want you to believe that they were created and recorded spontaneously, out of a random yet captured fit of inspiration. Those hits of inspiration, which are often fleeting, are beautiful things indeed. The problem is that a lot of those records end up sounding very calculated and pretentious. That's not necessarily a bad thing, to sound calculated. After all, it works for a great many black metal bands and artists. But I don't want to be told that something is spontaneous when it's clearly not.

This collaborative effort from Jon Mueller and the perpetually busy James Plotkin, titled Terminal Velocity, was spontaneously concocted and recorded in the days following Mueller and Plotkin's collaborative performance at the Utech Records Music Festival in June of 2011. And while the focus and concentration of these two artists, which time will remember as two of the great musical artists of this generation, is quite obvious, it's also quite clear that the songs on this amazing double-LP were created on the fly.

At times, the great waves of sound at work here sound like they are about to fly out of control, and you get the feeling that the aching, reverberating layers of guitar, electronic atmospherics, and percussion are going to fall apart, destroying something that had a chance to be truly grand. But fortunately, part of what makes Mueller and Plotkin so amazing is that they know the value of restraint. So just when you think things are going to get weird, Mueller and Plotkin are somehow able to reel themselves in and come back to center. It's an amazing ability, and one that this album showcases more than once. It's quite an intense and evocative journey, and one that I've taken nearly ten times thus far. The LPs get put away for sake keeping only to find themselves back on my turntable shortly thereafter.

Pressed by the always awesome Taiga Records in an edition of 500, with 100 on transparent light blue with grey splatter, 200 on orange, and 200 on black. All on 200 gram virgin vinyl, packaged in a heavy duty Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket featuring the graphite drawings of Karlynn Holland. This is sold out from Taiga, but there are some other options, any of which are good at this point because this won't last much longer.  It is being distributed in the US by Forced Exposure, and can be had in Europe from Metamkine or Boomkat. The Boomkat link will also give you a chance to hear some samples. One last option is to get the 2xLP straight from Jon Mueller here at Rhythmplex. Word has it that if you buy it from Jon, you will also get a copy of his latest solo offering (which just so happened to be mastered by James Plotkin), which will not be for sale elsewhere. It is called Here: An Advanced Study of Death Blues, and you can read more on that here.

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