Kim Gordon / DJ Olive / Ikue Mori, 2000
The first time I heard this odd Kim Gordon album, I didn't know what to make of it. Sure, as a member of Sonic Youth, Gordon helped produce some of the most experimental rock to grace the radio since before the grunge boom. This is a wholly experiment. There's little in the way of structure. The songs—as much as you can find something that resembles one—drift freely in open figures of sound amongst anti-guitar-playing, laptop squiggles and intermittent turntable noodling. A description alone, that makes it clear why I was initially put off by SYR5.
Records like this are alchemical; more than their constituent parts. They coalesce around a unity of sound and a sustained mood, even if that mood is queasy and uncomfortable. Moments of synchronicity feel more magical for how intuitive or haphazard any individual gesture or event feels. Looking back now, SYR5 is less a curious cul de sac so much as a working prototype of Kim Gordon's post-Sonic Youth career.