Tashi Dorji & Aaron Turner – Turn! Turn! Turn! (SIGE Records) album review

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Turn! Turn! Turn! 9/20/18

A live collaboration

ย by Aaron Turner and

Tashi Dorji




Aaron Turner + Tashi Dorji, two prominent Avant Garde artists that prioritize aural texture over most musical standards such as “listenability” or “cohesiveness”, got together in Portland, Oregon last September, to record this live, stream of consciousness album. Released May 29th via Bandcamp, the album comes as a total surprise considering what SUMAC/Former ISIS Founder, Aaron Turner has been involved in these past 4 years.

With consistent releases, including 2017’s collaborative effort with Japanese multi-instrumentalist/free-form artist, Keiji Haino, on “American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On”, owning and running a new record label with his wife, Faith Coloccia, and now two European tours with Dalek, Austerity Program and his supergroup, Old Man Gloom; You’d think the man would feel the least bit tired, or maybe even begin to falter in the ever slightest. As most artists that remain this prolific, there’s usually a hiccup to be felt at some point in the onslaught of creative endeavors.

With “Turn Turn Turn!” though, there’s no opportunity to slip in the slightest, as the goal seems to be, “maximize catharticism while maintaining constant propulsion forward in terms of riffs and intermittent rhythms”.ย  The warm, yet staggering buzz of Turner’s electric is the underbelly of this project’s composure, as Dorji tings away on what can only be assumed is his guitar laden with effect pedals, the composition stays rearing it’s ugly head and at about 13 minutes into the piece, you begin to wonder; “Just what in the fuck is he doing to that guitar?”.

Comprised of mere drone and off tempo, scattered, tings for the first half, a small sense of relief is felt when Turner’s signature angular hammer on/pull-offs are heard creeping into the release. The only true resting point in the effort is found on Side B, about 8 1/2 minutes in, found in the form of a drastic, yet slow, descent into emanating jangling and pick scrapes.

My friend Brandon was at this show, and claimed to have overheard Turner and Dorji discussing the use of marijuana and it’s undesirable trait of taking you away from feeling your true emotions as thoroughly as possible. With this tidbit of information coming to mind, it makes one wonder if this is somehow a performance not at all for the audience or perhaps just the sake of a record, or if it’s an exercise of some highly personalized form of meditation that these two are just making up on the spot.

Consistent with other releases including the two musicians, this album lulls you in to a happy place reminiscent of a good abstract painting; making you feel an unidentified comfort in the constance of not-quite-white-noise, though definitely not to be described as “structured”. A journey inwards, if you let it, Turn! Turn! Turn! takes you down with it in the tail end of the live recording, in the best of ways.

Turn Turn Turn! is another astonishing release out on Turner’s SIGE Records, available on cassette and digital streaming sites. Please consider supporting the man, as I’d love to continue having the privilege of new material from him.

Link may be found at the top of the article.

– Brian Gibson









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