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Writhing Squares

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The Deli Philly’s February Record of the Month: Out of the Ether - Writhing Squares

As January jogged towards its bitter cold conclusion, Out of the Ether, the sophomore album from the duo of Kevin Nickles (Ecstatic VisionTaiwan Housing Project) and Daniel Provenzano (Purling HissSpacin’), a.k.a. Writhing Squares, was released via Chicago’s Trouble In Mind Records.

As if announcing their arrival by knocking on the door, “Dirt In My Mind’s Eye” percussively taps and thuds, giving way to a backend pulse that expands to a rugged, spacey riff, accentuated with time-traveling keys, cut through by a saxophone run, pathing the way to the existential question: “You ask why I’m here.” Thumping bass continuously closes in on the destination. However, while the distant seemingly shrinks, there’s an infinite perspective as the points of perspective alter.

“Steely Eyed Missile Man” jumps in at full sprint; with a warping, halo effect, the saxophone and bass weave in and out, creating an offset relationship. The bass races forward, and then the horn reacts, building a dynamic that appears to synch into place at times, yet independently explore at others. The vocals seem to clear a way, amid the full-speed-ahead chaos. Shreds of sax propelled by the adrenaline of bass hypnotically blast, engraving the atmosphere, before the reverberating rattle and groove of “Bloodborne Hate and Black Book Mass” sets the stage for the high octane slap. The vocals stream in as if from a distance – high above in the sky. When those words match the rhythmic push, a hypnotic heaviness – one that presents in waves, whose haze lifts as the saxophone tears away temporarily, seeking its own lane. 

With “I Turned to the Mirror,” a muscular funk line walks in as percussion and bass breathe and stomp. Philosophical lyrics rain down in bewitching prophecy as the marching backend etches a line that the flute starts down and then veers off, counterbalancing the established thrust with a lighter air. It’s as if an alluring cauldron illuminates the darkness, and one’s reflection emerges.

The EP concludes with the epic, heart-racing sojourn of “A Whole New Jupiter,” one which gradually rockets into focus as you safely harness yourself in for the long haul. The horn tangentially plays off the endless motor. Next, the bass takes the lead, ping-ponging off interior walls in a distorted-echo transmission, before stepping back as the saxophone tags in, blazing a trail with the rhythms hot on its heels, screaming into the endless void. The celestial train relentlessly chugs towards its final destination, navigating unforeseen obstacles in a free-jazz meets psych-rock form. – Michael Colavita

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New Track: "A Whole New Jupiter" - Writhing Squares

Out of the Ether is the forthcoming album from Philly sound sculptors Writhing Squares, which is slated for release on January 25, 2019 via Trouble In Mind Records. Exploring an extensive futuristic landscape within the free jazz jam of “A Whole New Jupiter,” the continuous thump of synth and percussion drives this progression. That relentless ferocity eventually branches off into pockets of intriguing experimentation. A heart-racing unpredictability finds a heaviness that manages to maintain a grounded cohesion no matter how far the nearly twenty-minute adventure spirals outward.

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