I Was Real
One of the most exciting and original acts to emerge in the past decade is 75 Dollar Bill. Originally a minimalist duo made up of guitarist Che Chen and percussionist Rick Brown (his preferred instrument is a plywood crate), 75DB has slowly expanded its sonic palette to include strings, horns and bass, while still maintaining a laser-sharp focus. The band’s world is now big enough to incorporate Mauritanian-inspired guitar, Tony Conrad-esque drones, Lightning Hopkins-worthy boogie, Ornette Coleman covers and plenty more.
75 Dollar Bill’s latest, the ambitious double LP I Was Real, might be their most satisfying work yet, bringing together a kaleidoscopic range of approaches, from expansively tranced out jams (the side-long title track) to blazing, stripped down duo workouts (the unbelievably locked-in “WZN #4”). This thing sprawls, but never meanders – its 70 minutes fly by. Wherever Chen and Brown take the listener, they do it with a pure sense of adventure, riding the current fearlessly.
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