Body/Head - Coming Apart

Body/Head - Coming Apart

An animal soup of swirling madness and mind-boggling flavours, inside a giant Thermos flask of fucked up weirdness.


Body/Head, Kim Gordon’s collaborative project with free-noise extraordinaire Bill Nace, is more experimental, scraping, abrasive, and disarming than anything she has done before; and considering her previous output with Sonic Youth, that’s quite the feat. ‘By ‘Last Mistress’, a mere three tracks in, she’s impersonating canine ‘woof’ noises over Nace’s sinister backdrop, delivering almost Dadaist lyricism like “dogs, when they piss”. ‘Coming Apart’ opens with Kim repeatedly singing “I can only think of you in the abstract,” over a melee of sonic weirdness and directionless guitar riffs. The only constructive way to think of the record as a whole is in the abstract sense, too. Every noise is a sort of figurative shadow, taking on a vague recognisable likeness, and then quickly mutating. Body/Head strip sound back to sparse skeletal structures, before building it back up into gargantuan, all-enveloping walls of sound. Then, just as quickly, they open their palms and let it all crash down again.

Listening to ‘Coming Apart’ is like being trapped in an animal soup of swirling madness and mind-boggling flavours, inside a giant Thermos flask of fucked up weirdness. This isn’t just ‘noise-rock’ in the convenient labelling sense. ‘Coming Apart’ is truly nihilistic No-Wave. It’s kind of appropriate for the times, really. No-Wave was spawned during New York City’s nadir in the 1970’s; a city awash with decay, widespread crime and a wasteland mentality. Without wanting to get too allegorical, ‘Coming Apart’ doesn’t seem like a nostalgic look backwards towards Kim Gordon’s musical roots, though. Its complete abandonment of commercial interests seems just as relevant and important in today’s economic backdrop.

The project’s name, Body/Head, suggests a fracture between the physical body and the soul within, and when Nace and Gordon are walking across bass guitars and wailing like abandoned whales in a David Attenborough documentary, it feels like they’re exorcising something from within. What, exactly? Who bloody knows.

‘Coming Apart’ is almost too intense, and it’s really quite hard to make any substantial sense of. Getting fully lost inside that wall of sound is possible, but it might well prove too infuriating, too confusing, too abstract. One thing is for sure, though, what Kim Gordon and Bill Nace have created together is experimentalism at its most boundary pushing. Love or loathe their destructive attitude towards convention, ‘Coming Apart’ is an exciting, if extremely strange album.