Sunday, March 26, 2006


Brooklyn trio PEEESSEYE (pronounced P-S-I) is enticingly confounding. Their CD from last year, Artificially Retarded Soul Care Operators (released under the name PSI), is pretty schizophrenic - some parts are ultra-sensitive minimalism, others are blasting chaos, but there are also warm electronic drones, confrontational live recordings, two completely different tracks with the same name, and an unclassifiable 15-minute opus in the middle brilliantly titled "We Broke the Sun." I dug it for its sheer sonic invention and diversity, but also because I could never get a handle on it. Going back to it now, I'm surprised by how few details I remembered, in that same way that the most unpredictable records leave tons of general impressions but few specific ones.

The new PeeEssEye, oo-ee-oo (burnt offering), is even tougher to peg. Instead of mutiple-personality tracks, here we get one continous 31-minute piece, the majority of which is centered around, of all things, acoustic guitar (or as their label puts it, "unamplified guitar"). It starts super-quiet and distant, with a Jandek-like open chord strummed incessantly and soon accompanied by a puzzling vocal melange that's equal parts lonely croon, cookie monster growl, and psychotic scream. The mantra-like guitar then melts into my favorite section (excerpted below) - an escalating duet with a whirring harmonium of a slightly Animal Collective-ish hue that's later fused with tons of general rattling, sawing, and scraping . From there, all sorts of crazy invention occurs - patches of silence, random metallic debris, ear-slicing bursts of whine, weird unidentifiable room noise - until a second harmonium passage emerges, in a sun-staring mode that recalls the backwoods drones of Pelt, if they were recorded in a car repair shop.

Obviously a linear description of this rec is not super difficult, but as with its predecessor, there's something going on that I just can't slot easily into the folds of my gray matter. Maybe it's the bracing acoustic guitar, maybe it's that the album should only be listened to continously in one half-hour sitting, maybe it's just that it was recorded in New Jersey - whatever, the only thing certain about oo-ee-oo (burnt offering) is that I'm gonna need a lot more time with it. See you in 100 listens...

PEEESSEYE - (excerpt) from oo-ee-oo (burnt offering)


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