UNIONBLOCK, the duo of Weston Olencki and Jack Langdon, comfortably situate themselves within a vortex of dichotomies on their debut. Thetford, named after the town in Vermont where the duo recorded, mixes Olencki’s sharp, discordant prepared banjo odysseys with Langdon’s somewhat more restrained organ workouts. Together the disparate palettes – one grating and jarring, the other softer and hollow – deconstruct the space around the sound. Olencki and Langdon recorded Thetford at the Thetford Hill Church which is the home of the longest continuously active religious congregation in the United States.
Moving at sudden, abrupt angles, it’s as though “Brick Whittle” is poking holes and dissecting the lingering history ensconced within this place. Langdon’s low-frequency punctuations are the exhaling echoes of bound memories. Respite is nowhere to be found in the quiet breaks between scarred chaotic movements, only apprehension, and questions of culpability. Olencki and Langdon’s aural discourse leaves a mountain of splintered fragments.
Almost as a counterpoint, “Coupler Pt. 2” pushes through a wall of vacant resonance as fractures strip apart the architectural foundations built into the expansive drones. Time slows to a crawl with Langdon sending divergent, elongated melodies into stained glass chasms. Metallic vibrations imbue the cavernous yawns with bedrock, driving an ethereal gauze back into the sunlit cracks. UNIONBLOCK’s choice of location permeates this music, but it never takes the focus away from the duo’s unerring convictions.
Thetford will be released on May 20 via Lobby Art. Stream “Coupler Pt. 2” and pre-order below.