“Andre LaFosse is truly one of my favorite musicians; his deeply signaturised music is simultaneously both ‘statement’ & ‘commentary’, and signals a beautifully clear & concise call to the bright future of an instrument previously known as ‘guitar.’ — David Torn
‘Chronic deconstructionist tortured (solo) artist’ Andre LaFosse offers up two new releases that are both so dynamically different and executed that they can’t be deconstructed by anyone but LaFosse. Saying that they are merely two sides to the same coin would do a disservice to both, as well as to LaFosse’s ‘turntablist guitar’ and its apparent limitless amount of sides. Taken together, Do The Math and The Hard Bargain are a formidable pair, linked and threaded together by LaFosse’s incredible playing, assembly and the ever intangible thought process. Separately, they both have a character and mission as distinct and unique as their creator’s fingers.
The ‘mid-life crisis rock album’
The Hard Bargain, in a multi-sided nutshell, is an instrumental guitar rock album. And one hell of one. One that should appeal to guitar loving dorks who can’t play themselves, but know what floats their boat, to self-professed eggheads who know their way around the neck better than they do the outside world. The legs it stands on may be straight-ahead rock, but the head is unquestionably in more than one place. At the same time. It’s got crunch, riffs, swagger and it flat-out rocks, but LaFosse takes some of the inherent limitations and turns them on their ears, and ours. The Hard Bargain, for all its modern eclecticismand production, recalls a heyday of ‘guitar heroes’ who pushed that format to their own edges without sounding like a stale call to arms to glorify the past. LaFosse himself has said that The Hard Bargain is “the single most unfashionable music I’ve ever released.” Well, hats off to the ugly ones then because this is so unfashionable it’s beautiful. There’s plenty of incredible one-wo/man army outfits and artifacts out there that stand as great pieces of work, monuments to an artist doing the best they can with the resources they have. That’s true here to a point, but the real crux here is a craftsman who understands and commands his resources impeccably, then limits the language they’re used to speaking in. By doing so, LaFosse has given a new tongue to his dreaded instrumental guitar rock album without once talking down to it, or the end-user. And it has plenty to say, from the spitting and spastic opener Subway Psychology through the hot gravel of Twelve Sided Dice…Zen Guns sounds both painful and pensive in its coiling and uncoiling, while Remediation has an almost faint whiff of desert rock smoke that slow-burns into an escalating dispersal…. The exact way you want to take the title is as open to interpretation as the music inside, but there’s nothing cheap or one-sided about it. Neither is the agreement, bargain if you will, LaFosse has admittedly made with himself, and the listener.
Twelve Sided Dice :: Andre LaFosse :: The Hard Bargain (2012, Andre LaFosse)
“The mad scientist modular synth hauntology krautrock album”
Restless and ratcheting, Do The Math uses its sonic squall to offer up the apparent cutting-edge already in decay…or meltdown. A genre-hopping and bending exercise, Do The Math takesall the input, and doesn’t just reprocess, it rethinks. Sounding both compressed and squeezed to the breaking point in some places, the potent release LaFosse wrings out of his lab equipment is equal parts relief and revenge. LaFossepushes the rigor and precision of technology from one end to the other giving Do The Math a far more untethered and wobbly free-ranging insistence than you might expect; the pulse becomes impulsive. The meltdown and decay have morphed into birth pangs. In many ways, the hard bargain made on Do The Math comes across as far more painful, but just as enriching. It presents a ‘technology’ full of innovation, though free of the burden of being the newest, the fastest; that’s not the point. The point seems to be analogous to one (of many) being made on The Hard Bargain: taking the limits, crippling to slight, and making a statement that doesn’t rest in one time or place even though it’s inclusiveness and scope virtually takes them all in. Unsurprisingly, Do The Math digests aspects of The Hard Bargain just as The Hard Bargain takes its own simple math and reverse engineers a complex and enthralling equation. Regardless of which came first, the math or the bargain, both present a stunning sum agreeable to all sides.
Strange Games :: Andre LaFosse :: Do The Math (2012, Andre LaFosse)
"This show is 110% … one of the most consistently awesome programs we have come across."
The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.