the collective

FIRST LISTEN: Kim Gordon – The Collective (Matador)

If you were to try and think of some of rock’s most electrifying and revered heroes and create some sort of list, any self-respecting person would, and should, include Kim Gordon on that list. Throughout the years she has been a consistent presence and has helped to produce some truly iconic works most notably with Sonic Youth. Her name is carved into the history of alternative music forever, which is exactly what affords her musical liberation on her latest solo effort The Collective.

As a preface, I was actually unfamiliar with Gordon’s debut solo work prior to this. It might have been an idea to familiarise myself, but alas, I thought it would make for a much more unique experience when diving into her newest work, something I was definitely right about. Continuing her collaboration with producer Justin Raisen for her second album, if you’re familiar with Raisen’s previous work, then you should already be aware of the sonically disjointed rabbit hole this album embarks down.

The album’s opener ‘BYE BYE ‘ is beautifully haunting, an eclectic and jarring introduction, with Gordon’s monotone and non-sensical spoken lyrics all contrasted by an opium-tinged beat. Which also features this sort of fractious riff throughout the background, squeaking and squawking as Gordon rambles her way through.

Both ‘The Candy House‘, and ‘I Don’t Miss My Mind‘, are both as joyfully discordant as the opener, providing a whole new level of disarray to the sound, which isn’t something that Gordon hasn’t ever really shied away from throughout her extensive career, but for her to completely re-invent her sound in this way is not only admirable, but pleasurable. It would have been incredibly easy for Kim Gordon to merely tread water into this eerie and decayed trap beat-ridden noise, but doing things by halves clearly isn’t her style.

The album isn’t just something you can press play and listen to, instead it’s a subversive sensory deprivation tank, designed to drown out the analogue nature of the outside world, pulling you down into its twisted depths. ‘Psychedelic Orgasm‘ might seem like it’s little a bit on the nose, but it doesn’t do an awful job of summarising the mental itch that this album manages to scratch. Lyrically the album can feel can dysfunctional and shallow, but when you wade between the swirls of shuddering bass and frightful drum programming, you uncover criticisms on empty romantic gestures and gift-giving (‘Shelf Warmer‘), capitalism and brand culture (‘Dream Dollar‘), as well as the idea of American and freedom (‘It’s Dark Inside‘). Gordon’s ability to bring meaning and sense to her fracturing sound is as a result not only of her creative genius, but also just sheer coolness.

So, Kim Gordon has once again managed to demonstrate just why exactly she is revered as such an icon, the album is one that will no doubt bring comparisons with the likes of Death Grips, as well as some of Raisen’s previous collaborators, but it would be nothing short of a shame to try and box Gordon in too much. Her dynamism and head-strong songwriting should help to ensure that this album is provided its due plaudits without requiring any comparison at all.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.