When three musicians as prodigously talented as free-jazz drummer Chris Corsano and guitarists Ben Chasny (Six Organs Of Admittance) and Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) decide to collaborate, they take a big risk. There are questions to consider: will egos get in the way? When all of the collaborators are used to being the main focal point in a group, who will take the lead; more importantly, will the others know when – or how – to fade into the background? Luckily, the balance of power within Rangda – the psych rock improv supergroup named after a child-eating Balinese demon queen – appears to be an equal three-way split, and on Formerly Extinct (the follow-up to 2010’s debut False Flag) the three players exhibit a chemistry that if not magical, per se, certainly borders on the telepathic. It’s in the way they turn on a dime in unison a minute into opener “Idol’s Eye“, flipping the switch from Middle Eastern funk to sprawling, stoned psychedelia and then back again. It’s in the way they suddenly pull a gut-wrenching blues crawl from a mass of tangled strings and crashing cymbals on “The Vault”. It’s in the way they manage to turn two riffs and a two-minute long drum-roll into one of the loveliest country-folk instrumentals (“Goodbye Mr. Gentry) in recent memory. But most importantly, it’s in the way the trio complement each other, taking turns stepping into the spotlight and providing a solid backing when the time comes for the others to shine; listen to “Majnun” below.
Formerly Extinct is out October 1 via Drag City