Feathered Coyote Records makes its first appearance on our site with this distinctive and immediately engaging release. One of the best ways to get our attention is to record music that lands between genres, and He Stole My Radar wanders from drone to ambient to choral without batting an eye. It’s the sort of recording that makes one want to know more, hear more, understand more. Perhaps the best phrase to describe the work of this trio is creative sound-making. The cassette comes across like a sonic zoo: “What is that? And what is that?” When listening to it for the first time, one is unable to guess with any accuracy where the recording will travel next; and after repeated plays, even when one has grown familiar with the thick topography, one continues to wonder how so many disparate sounds can work together so well.
Melody is present, but not always: the languid soft-edged guitar picking of “Red Cross Stare” (the song, not the trio) and the sweetly subdued choirs of “Spectral Cars”. But even these sounds are lodged in more experimental frames: copper drones, clanks, crickets, tender vibrations of electric guitar. When melody withdraws, texture takes up its position; and on “Strike Away Gently From My Body”, texture is the end-all, be-all. On this selection, harsh tones find their edges abraded while cymbals crash in the background and feedback bubbles from a nearby cauldron. A greater distance from the choir is hard to imagine, and yet these tracks seem to bow to each other, rather than to battle. If the radar has been stolen, its improvised replacement has served as a fine substitute. There’s even a sense of melancholy on “Last Contact”, as a confident piano plays over what sounds like a set of windshield wipers and a dying geiger counter: a classical concerto in which mechanical devices have replaced traditional instruments. On this recording, the old and new have learned to live at peace: a hopeful musical metaphor for humanity’s common dream. (Richard Allen)