There’s not much peace and quiet in my life these days. Opportunities to experience silence are few and far between, so I’ve ended up on the other side where I need music I can just crank up to drown everything out. Duo Damage Vol. 1: Live in Portland has been an expert-level savior the past couple weeks.
Tashi Dorji and Marshall Trammell both have extensive, impressive discographies so that this combination not just works, but is explosive and purifying is no surprise. As I said previously, guitar and drum duos are one of my favorite combinations and these two do not disappoint. From the opening squelch of Dorji’s guitar on “Fleet of Moments (I),” the fuse is lit. After a couple minutes of feeling things out, they lock in and take off. Dorji continues to surprise, showing through collaborative efforts as well as his solo work that, as a guitarist, he’s unclassifiable. Here, his crunching guitar shreds are a magnetic field creating their own gravity and keeping all the jarring, sonic missiles Trammell spews connected to the surface. Five minutes in and both are going off.
Where Duo Damage Vol. 1 really shines, though, is in the pair’s transitions and the space they afford each other. After blitzing you with full-on distorted, pulsing chomp, there’s a few minutes to breathe as the pace slows and Trammell finds deep valleys to mine before the next explosion. I’m always blown away by Trammell’s energy. His base level is on fire, but you always know he’s going to go supernova at some point and rip a hole in your skull. Skillfully winding through surface mayhem, Trammell always wields his chaotic, enthralling rhythms with surgical precision, giving them weight.
Building skyward like a monument to dead civilizations, Duo Damage Vol. 1 is a razorblade of sound slicing open pathways through the earth. Dorji’s bombastic guitar mangling feels like it weighs a ton and Trammell’s patterns are the engine with no brakes. There’s magic here. While I imagine that experiencing this performance live was on another level, with this recording you can still stomp and skronk your way into the sun.