Even though 2021 just started, it is no hyperbole that Spiral Wave Nomads’ seismic sophomore release on Twin Lakes and Feeding Tube Records will certainly be remembered as one of the strongest releases of the year.
Made up of Eric Hardiman on guitar and Michael Kiefer on drums, SWN began as a long-distance musical relationship that relied upon file-sharing as a means of collaboration. First Encounters documents the very first time that the duo had an opportunity to play together in person. Sensing the sonic magic that might occur, the pair decided to allow their artistic instincts to take over, so they went into this recording session with no plans, no discussions and no boundaries. They just plugged in, started playing and let the music guide them to places unexpected and unheard.
The resulting four tracks cut from this jam sound far tighter and more constructed than you’d expect. While flowing loose and free, Kiefer and Hardiman play almost as if they’re part of the same hive mind. Each note, each beat and every tricky drum fill lands perfectly and feels somehow premeditated. This speaks volumes not only to each person as an improviser, but to the duo’s trust and knowledge of each other as musicians.
The pieces erupt with cataclysmic drums that crash and ricochet like Milford Graves’ percussion work on Sonny Sharrock’s Black Woman. Meanwhile, Hardiman’s effects-laden guitar utterly lacerates with a cosmic brilliance. Together, they steer their improvisations into heavy acid freak-out zones, like a jazzed-up Guru Guru or Bardo Pond. The pair creates such an intense wall of vivid sound, it’s easy to forget that they’re just two people jamming in a room.
If Endless Boogie and Ryley Walker’s records with Charles Rumback frequent your turntable, then this album will, too. You can get your copy from Twin Lakes Records here or from Feeding Tube Records here today.