Label: Thrill Jockey Records Release date: 23/08/10 Thrill Jockey Profile Coil Sea is the new side project from Dave Heumann, lead singer of Baltimore's Arbouretum. After the band finished touring Europe in 2009, Heumann assembled a group of musician friends to make, in his words, “an improv drone record”. This EP is the result of two jam sessions (plus a bit of mixing and editing) conducted for that very purpose. Lasting seven and a half minutes, the first track, 'Abyssinia', may be the shortest of the four, but it kicks off the record in much the way it intends to continue: slowly. Apart from the final track, the up-tempo drumbeat of which comes as a refreshing change, this EP is very much about repetition and slow builds. However, that's not to say that there isn't any energy here, it's just a kind of static vitality. The second track, 'Dolphins in the Coil Sea', is a prime example. Created as a homage to avant-garde jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock, this song features some bursts of raw, beautiful noise from Heumann's guitar and incredible drumming courtesy of Michael Lowry. But, as a whole, the song progresses at a painfully meandering pace and the overall result sounds a little like a turgid, underdeveloped Tortoise track. For me, the difficulty is that, although these are clearly fantastically talented musicians, I feel shut out as an audience. Each track is like a conversation between all those playing; Heumann throws out a note from his guitar, Lowry replies with his drum, slowly the ensemble poke and prod each other along. Sadly, it's often quite a long conversation that only involves those participating and, consequently, it gets dull. Still, perhaps that's to be expected from improvised drone? Photobucket