Seth Olinsky is perhaps best known for being the primary songwriter, frontman and guitarist of influential and renowned underground noise folk punk act Akron/Family — and his solo project Cy Dune has developed a reputation for celebrating raw and primordial rock that has drawn from his work with Akron/Family, Swans’ Micheal Gira and Rhys Chatham, as well as collaborations with Hamid Drake, William Parker, Keiji Haino and Tatsuya Nakatani among others.
Olinsky’s latest effort The Desert initially came about after experimenting with making drum loops on a refurbished Alan Lomax Ampex 601-2, pushing a clash of layered 16th notes and African inspired triplet relationships to create a new, repetitive drum sound. That early experimentation wound up inspiring some of the meta sampling on Summer Rebels; however, with The Desert, the sampling is a much rawer form, while featured layered and energetic playing from backing band and collaborators drummer Andrew Barker, bassist William Parker, who has worked with Cecil Taylor and Peter Brotzman, and bassist Shazad Ismaily. who has worked with Marc Ribot and Sam Amidon. Initially written in the Sonoran Desert after Olinsky and Lighting Records co-founder Ali Beletic relocated to the desert in 2010, the material was tested as various adobe house shows around Tucson, in open desert arroyos running off of battery power at organized sound/noise poetry happenings that featured poetry professors from the University of Arizona and their friends from Montana and Oregon, who were traveling through town — and then eventually at SXSW with 40 drummers, including Akron/Family’s Dana Janssen, Megafaun‘s Joey Westerland, Son Lux‘s Ian Chang and Jobs’ Max Jaffe.
Olinsky relocated to Joshua Tree in 2014 and he continued to further deconstruct and develop the desert blues songs he originally wrote in 2010, with some material becoming part of pieces cut together with Ampex samples of old blues tunes, eventually becoming post-minimalist compositions which he performed in the Integratron, before being installed in the desert with multiple amplifiers run off generators. The Desert interestingly enough is the first of a series of archival Cy Dune releases that Lighting Records will be releasing this year, before a full-length of new, original material next year — but in the meantime, The Desert‘s first single is the explosive, John Lee Hooker and George Thorogood boogie blues meets psych blues-like “Desert 3.” Centered around a stomping drum progression, an inspired and fiery bit of guitar playing from Olinsky, the song possesses a feral and almost unhinged urgency.