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Listening Party

Coil Sea: Coil Sea

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Coil Sea

Coil Sea

Thrill Jockey

The Coil Sea is the project of Arbouretum frontman Dave Heumann; Big in Japan’s Matthew Pierce and Michael Lowry; Michael Kuhl; Jimmy Wallace of Asheville, N.C.; and Walker Teret, a Baltimore folk veteran who plays with too many bands to mention. The genesis of the project was Heumann sitting in with Big in Japan at one of the trio’s Windup Space residency shows last summer, but, aside from that, none of these players had played together as one ensemble until this recording. As such, Heumann says Coil Sea, save for one prescripted melody, is entirely improvised.

And it’s the sort of improvisation that has been out of fashion for a good minute—the kind that riffs and grooves and, with a little THC assistance, would probably be really good for staring at a wall for several flips of this vinyl-only release. So, yeah, there’s a bit of good old fashioned 4:20 jamming going on in these four tracks; Coil Sea is full to the brim with riffing, but only briefly does it get to that certain kind of indulgent noodling. Mostly, it’s wicked satisfying, full of slow-burning grooves, often feeling like a breezier or more free take on Arbouretum’s style of churning folk-rock, but not much less filling. It’s even at times transcendent, such as on the 12-minute album backbone “Dolphins in the Coil Sea,” which just keeps unfurling and unfurling in lyrical guitar but never loses its grounding, and just when it seems to come unmoored, comes thundering back down in a show of guitar-string acid and cymbal. A good ride.

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