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Sonic Youth

Silver Session (For Jason Knuth)

SKR

Jason Knuth was the music director for KUSF in San Francisco. He was profoundly affected by the work of Sonic Youth; perhaps it was the only thing he liked about his life, which is now over. Rather than dwell on whatever inner turmoil led him to suicide, we should appreciate his devotion to a band he liked so much that his friends called him "Sonic Knuth" (the "SK" of "SKR"). This doesn't mean that you have to like Sonic Youth, and it certainly doesn't mean that you have to like this record. In fact, it is a testament to the purity of Mr. Knuth's love for Sonic Youth that he would probably love this record, and would tell you so, verbose and breathlessly. But the rest of us might wonder why we just paid $10 for what amounts to a throwaway record of feedback exercises.

According to Thurston Moore's liner notes, Silver Sessions was recorded while SY were doing vocal overdubs for their latest "proper" album, A Thousand Leaves. The band upstairs was too loud, so "we decided to fight fire with molten lava and turned every amp we owned on to 10+ and leaned as many guitars and basses we could plug in against them and they roared/HOWLED like airplanes burning over the pacific." Surely the CD format doesn't do justice to the experience of being aurally terrorized by the heavyweight champions of noise rock, but better this than being upstairs at that studio. Feedback is fine in doses, and sometimes even in abundance; this record is total feedback, drones, whines, a spiral staircase of dissonance. It's fine on that level, but it ranks around the bottom of their output the last couple of years. A lot of people, me for one, are going to buy this expecting something similar to their SYR EP's of '97. Such expectations will lead to disappointment, for this is to the EP's what Metal Machine Music was to White Light, White Heat. I'd guess that, had Knuth lived, this record might not exist. The proceeds from its sale go to the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Hotline (415-781-0550). SKR, P.O. Box 6179, Hoboken, NJ 07030

--Shelton Hull