GRID, the experimental trio of Matt Nelson (Battle Trance; Elder Ones) on saxophone, Tim Dahl (Child Abuse; Lydia Lunch Retrovirus) on bass, and Nick Podgurski (New Firmament; Feast of the Epiphany) on drums, have returned to NNA Tapes for the release of their colossal sophomore album, Decomposing Force.
Recorded live in one room with no overdubs and mixed to 1/2 inch tape, GRID builds off of their earth-rattling self-titled debut. Decomposing Force relies on the composite sound of Nelson, Dahl, and Podgurski interacting and reacting to each individual as well as their combined output—the continual flowing-in of individual and agglomeration serves to add dimension to the blackness and possibility of GRID’s musical ecosystem. With Dahl’s bass-amp angled directly into the microphone Nelson uses for his saxophone, the improvisational sounds of the entire band are fed through Nelson’s pedals and monitor to create a continuously interactive and variable feedback loop that comes to define the visceral immensity of GRID’s soundscapes. This combines with a mutual willingness to evenly shoulder the weight of composition. There is no showcasing of any single player in this amorphous system. The impact of what is created shall be carried by all.
Remaining beyond strict categorization, GRID’s crushing dissonance is an amalgamation of each member’s background in free-jazz and improvisational music, as well as Doom-Metal, Noise, and Ambient influences. The resistance towards classification and familiarity leaves listeners in an environment negotiable only by feel. Musically synthesizing and re-synthesizing in each moment, GRID’s cyclical transmission of sound and energy continually develops expressive, hyperactive, protean textures that brutally and masterfully navigate through the dense, heavy atmosphere of Decomposing Force with vigorous dynamism.
“Brutal Kings” is a short, claustrophobic passageway of bristles and thorns—each instrument and each note are distinctly and singularly piercing. The cacophonous “Nythynge” violently builds and releases tension as the band moves through passages of imposing, jagged musical discourse. The playing loosens and the tempo slows to an enveloping trudge on the thick, sludgy “The Weight of Literacy.” Then “Cold Seep” closes the album in a chilled, unsettling ambiance more expansive than anything that precedes it, leaving the impression that you’ve only explored but one tiny corner of GRID’s world.
Built on the tenets of weight, difficulty, challenge, collaboration, and adaptability, GRID constructs and confronts the oppressive dark—not with transcendent opposition but with an embrace, diving deeper in as a way through. Decomposing Force is sonic catharsis of the highest and harshest caliber.
released April 24, 2020
Matt Nelson - Saxophone
Tim Dahl - Bass
Nick Podgurski - Drums
Recorded by Jason LaFarge at Seizures Palace
Mixed by Michael Coleman at Figure 8
Mastered by Carl Saff
Illustrations by Nick Podgurski
Layout by Matthew Mayer
supported by 19 fans who also own “Decomposing Force”
It was a bit too much and samey by the end for me, but if you like dark atmospheres, if you are really interested in sound design or you enjoy the challenge of music that tries to wear you down, you should definitely check this record out.
I loved the echo-drenched drums and percussion and synths and hard to describe sounds on this, but it stays with the same sonic ideas for too long for me to enjoy to try to withstand the harsh wall of sounds minisculebarber