Thursday, December 16, 2010

SAMPLE & HOLD : dome 2

As Wire continued to perfect their avant-pop recipe, Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis sought a more challenging soundtrack to their collective exploratory leanings. Dome 1 appeared in 1980; so did Dome 2. But while Dome 1 was a somewhat fragmentary affair with rudimentary experiments that did not always produce anything of particular value, Dome 2 was a fully realized statement of "Dome-ness." As a visual artist producing series of conceptual drawings at the time, I was drawn to the cover art drawings of both releases. I loved the beautifully cursory "unfinished" dome drawing on the cover, rich graphite with a sketchy Dome 2 title erased into the graphite. This, unlike Dome 1, was a darkly-tinged vision. Track 2, "Long Lost Life" contained the line "...there's a dark shape growing inside" sung by Bruce Gilbert that emphatically exposed an environment filled with dread. The third track, "Breathsteps" presents an aural picture populated by a sure-footed mechanical beast plodding along buoyed by guitar/bass counterpointed beauty. All the future Dome elements are here: tribal rhythmic elements punctuated with noise bursts, snakey ourobourous guitar, abused synth vocalizations with distressed textured guitar parts disguised as arcane faux orchestrations, and song titles that suggest the pleasure obtained from rubbing up against the "other." Any Wire material that contained these sonic strategies to any extent benefited and so did we! This is music of penetrating power that continues to impress.

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