With an arsenal of seminal albums tucked into his belt, it’s no surprise that Thurston Moore’s latest output is nothing less than outstanding. Less of an album than a magnum opus, Spirit Counsel is as subterranean as it is sublime, consistently toeing the line between noisey rock and experimental. The content is sprawling but the production is tight.
Starting off the album is “Alice Moki Jayne”, which clocks in at almost 64 minutes—a length that might cause hesitation in first time listeners. However, the length allows it to change slowly like the seasons, listening like an impressionist painting—with stroke after messy stroke, with feeling after feeling. While it has a definite pattern and structure, it swims seamlessly in and out of darkness and light, between sadness and peace. After that, there is “8 Spring Street” which registers in the realm of the spiritual. This track, dedicated to the late Glenn Branca, listens like a prayer. It fosters qualities of yearning and it feels so uniquely meditative
The album closes out with the hour long “Galaxies” in which Moore leads an ensemble of 12 guitarists playing on 12 strings each. At first, it starts in a dissonant place that is peppered with players figuring out their parts, tuning, and screeching like new-born chicks. Then, the song plays out in a discordant junction which eventually leads into an uplifting drone of 144 strings communing together in an orchestra comprised of a singular instrument echoed 12 times. “Galaxies” unfolds like a conversation, or a heated yet civil debate that eventually lands at a mutual conclusion of noisy ambience. It is peaceful yet unmoored.
In this version of Thurston Moore, you can see that his intimacy with his instrument is clear and his style distinct. Spirit Counsel is the evolution of 2017’s Rock and Roll Consciousness—reaching for sublimity without the immediacy and restriction of the four minute song structure. While carrying similar themes to the previous album, it placates tenacity with undulations of atmosphere in between steady rhythm sections. Released on International Peace Day, it’s only fitting that this album feels like a reconciliation between lightness and weight, between the unhinged and the balanced. This is a work that finds repose in the eye of a sonic boom.
Thurston Moore will be playing in Los Angeles on December 15th at Zebulon. TICKETS are available now.
Words by Libby Hsieh