wed 22/05/2024

Album: Kim Gordon - The Collective | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Kim Gordon - The Collective

Album: Kim Gordon - The Collective

Second album by ex-Sonic Youth-er and producer Justin Raisen maintains their jagged trajectory

Jiggering TikTok with crunchy weirdness

Some icons sit back and bask. Kim Gordon does not. She has occasionally intimated that her New York cool and relentless work rate may be down to a smidgeon of imposter syndrome, even after all her years on the frontline. Whatever the truth of it, her output since Sonic Youth (and her marriage) dissolved in 2011 has been prodigious.

It’s ranged from new band projects Body/Head and Glitterbust, to film roles, to art exhibitions, and more. But perhaps most dynamic are her solo albums with producer Justin Raisen, of which this is the second. The Collective successfully continues their journey into glitchy, industrial-tinged word-stew cookery.

Gordon met Raisen in his hometown of Los Angeles, where she now lives. While he’s had his greatest commercial successes with the likes of slick-hop royalty such as Drake and Lil Yachty, and he’s quite capable of straightish pop, his work with Gordon is closer in scope to music he’s made with Throbbing Gristle-loving US experimentalist Yves Tumour. The album is drenched in aggressively intrusive machine sounds, chugging and clunking, threatening to overwhelm her vocals.

The album could be likened to cacophonous late-period material by Tom Waits or Scott Walker, except that, unlike those artists, Kim Gordon has been deep-dipping in avant-garde noisiness right from the start of here career. Sometimes the sonic effect leads, as on “Psychedelic Orgasm” but at others there’s a sneaky catchiness, as on “I Don’t Miss My Mind” with its chanty section proclaiming. “Jack it up/Make it up/Pack it up/Trade it up/Suck it up/Fuck it up,” recalling the electro-punk snarkiness of Peaches. Gordon’s voice throughout is dry but occasionally touched with Alan Vega-esque desperation.

The big tune is “Bye Bye”, a to-do list that’s given the 70-year-old Gordon a TikTok moment, with its deadpan tabulation: “Call the vet, call the groomer, call the dog sitter, milk thistle, calcium, high-rise, boot cut, Advil, black jeans”, etc. It’s great to see this symbol of art-feminist avant-rock’n’roll reach this younger audience and The Collective is a solid addition to her long catalogue of curiosities.

Below: Watch the video for "Bye Bye" by Kim Gordon


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