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Old 02-17-2021, 11:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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sufferinsukatash's Avatar
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Default Black Flag-The Process of Weeding Out

This one is instrumental. Says so on the front cover (so some young punk wanting to hear Henry scream about something he really should keep to himself, as the eps often tended to be, wouldn't feel too jilted). Many people, who at least know of Black Flag anyway, might find this fact surprising (and potentially a let down). Could punk music (circa 1985) be instrumental? Yes.

Because of the instrumental nature, The Process of Weeding Out is all about Greg Ginn, particularly his interest with free improvisation and the (mostly) jazz avant-garde. The improvisations vary in length and consist of a punk rock version of Albert Ayler's band (tenor, bass, drums) except for Black Flag the tenor is replaced with a jazz (not jazzy though) version of Greg Ginn's signature raging, off kilter guitar playing. The music is most likely meant to convey the frustrations and tribulations implied by the song titles as well as for hardcore fans and bands everywhere. The "process" of the title may also be an allusion to the musicianship levels of the players.

Not entirely a Greg Ginn solo project, he is accompanied by Kira Roessler on bass and Bill Stevenson on drums. The three have good chemistry together. Kira has good jazz sensibility and develops a number of memorable motifs and riffs throughout the four tracks. She even gives "Southern Rise" an almost bluesy quality. Bill helps establish the punk aspect of the tracks. His playing, alongside Kira, carry the songs rhythmically as Gregg often takes the role as main sound sculptor (Palmer). His heavy yet intentional use of cymbal crashes mimic the sounds of smashing glass and the bass rolls provide the jazz feel. Occasionally Kira (who is a wonderful soloist and free-form innovator) gets left behind so Greg can take center stage) which is made especially burdensome because of the three Ginn is the most likely to make mistakes on record (but his playing is also arguably most adventurous).

In conclusion, Black Flag made a legitimate jazz album. It showcases a cross-over that doesn't hastily pick a side but also doesn't clumsily mimic either forms' genre conventions. The ep is by no means perfect but is intriguing and high in quality (production, performance, composition, etc.).

Rating: 4/5


1) Your Last Affront
2) Screw the Law
3) The Process of Weeding Out
4) Southern Rise

Released on SST in 1985.

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