#NowPlaying | Bill Orcutt, ‘The Anxiety of Symmetry II’


From the Miami noise trio Harry Pussy to solo and quartet music, Bill Orcutt has spent decades fire-bombing conventional acceptance of what we consider to be guitar-based music. But adherents hoping for any of Orcutt’s steel-string immolations might need to swing at a curveball with The Anxiety of Symmetry.

Like previous “counting albums,” including one featuring Joey Ramone’s instantly recognizable count-off, Orcutt returns to his open-sourced Cracked software to craft something mesmerizing. On “The Anxiety of Symmetry II,” female voice samples sing the number of the corresponding notes of the first six tones of the major scale. Akin to 20th-century composer Morton Feldman‘s vocal-based works, the 16-minute track demands more from the listener than mere ambient music, yet somehow soothes with its robotic, canonical rounds — a mashup of esoteric mathematic-based compositions and OCD.

Twenty-five years ago, Orcutt co-created a similar, albeit more blunt study in electronics and the human voice with Harry Pussy’s Let’s Build a Pussy, which featured four sides of a sampled scream bellowed out by drummer/vocalist Adris Hoyos. “The Anxiety of Symmetry II” is less barbaric, yet is still an engaging exploration of what is arguably the universal instrument of our species: the human voice.

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