Bent Arcana by Bent Arcana

Bent Arcana are a John Dwyer-led ensemble that features members of Sunwatchers, TV On The Radio, Flying Lotus, Feels, Prettiest Eyes and Mr. Elevator among others. They play improvised jams in the vein of ‘70s hard fusion, prog rock, krautrock and the ECM label. Fans of Oh Sees or any of the other bands mentioned within will love this.

Vinyl LP £22.49 CF130

LP on Castle Face.

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CD £13.49 CF130CD

CD on Castle Face.

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REVIEWS

Bent Arcana by Bent Arcana
1 review. Write a review for us »
7/10 Daoud 20 August 2020

Though he doesn’t play them, I think John Dwyer’s albums are defined by their drumming. Whenever I think of Osees what I end up picturing is their drummer gleefully pounding away at the drums, before unleashing a gleeful drumroll, then back to more gleeful pounding. Their last album ‘Face Stabber’ (back when they were still Thee Oh Sees) saw the band leaning in a krautrock-y direction, but that garage rock instinct to pound the drums was never far away.

Bent Arcana came about from Dwyer inviting a bunch of his mates (from Sunwatchers, TV On The Radio, Flying Lotus and others) to improvise with him for five days in a studio. And it is immediately clear, no drums were pounded in the making of ‘Bent Arcana’. Instead Ryan Sawyer gently pitter-patters on the drums, in a way that will feel immediately familiar to fans of Can. Sawyer is masterful at restraint, which lends to the album’s expansive feel. He does occasionally stand his ground, as with the low toms he sprinkles throughout the end of ‘The Gate’, but mostly he’s content to provide the canvas upon which the rest of the band can jam.

‘Misanthrope Gets Lunch’ ends up more Neu! Than Can, built on a wonderfully nervous two note bass line. It’s the moment at which Dywer’s surfy instincts come to the fore, though that soon makes way for something closer to free jazz. ‘Oblivion Sigil’ meanwhile is an ominous and funky groove, though one that never takes off enough to justify its 11 minute length. My favourite track though is 'Mimi', an interval played on the horns that is wonderfully melodic - something I wish I could say about more of the album.




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