Kim Gordon

‘No Home Record’

(Matador)

5/5

With its obliterating beats, heavy bass lines, dagger noise, grinding drum machines and scratchy guitars Kim Gordon’s album, her first solo record in 38 years of music making,  is a brilliant swerve from the tried and tested Sonic Youth template and a game changing, career defining debut.

With the healthy dose of dissonance and a suffocating claustrophobic soundscape, the album is the sound of freedom and an ‘out demons out!’ Cleaning after the end of her long marriage to the band and to guitarist Thurston Moore.

The album is a reinvention in every way possible. A reinvention for Kim Gordon now out on her own and sounding perfectly at ease with this. It’s a return to her art school roots, like wild boho art rushes spattering blank canvases with vibrant ruses of sound, these songs sound like paintings. They create images out of noise and abstract but captivating rhythms that sound more like her sporadic occasional post Sonic Youth Body/Head project than the band that made her famous. This a record that is closer to Death Grips than the comfy warm blanket of indie rock. This is what the Stooges would have sounded like if they were from the now.  

This also sounds like a future. Not reading water in rock’s lazy playground. This is a genuine grab at future noise, a thrilling excursion into future pop because, oddly, in its twitching and driving noise rushes and it’s Suicide fired dark dubs or its twitching almost  industrial clank and crank of early Pussy Galore it is also a kinda pop. A pop record full of ideas like building the rhythm track with African Thumb piano driven Paprika Pony creating a pulsating soundscape for the whispered vocals to play with.

A very fringe pop of course but it has the dynamics of a pop record in its largesse of sound – this is no scratchy lo fi thing but a huge sound. Is this the meeting point of the avent undergound and the top 40? The crossroads between the genuine adventure you can hear in pop records, the intensity and revolution into style of the cutting edge of hip hop. For all its wild noise adventure and its garbage can clank and grind of industrial turmoil, this is a pop? 

It somehow does all these partly due to Kim’s talent for threading the frantic beats with her melodic voice that has been moved to the front of the mix and has never sounded stronger due to the panoramic production vision of Justin Raisan whose credits include the wonderful Charli XVX (whose first ever write up as here on LTW ).

A glorious adventure into sound. 

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