Rumor has it that after the dream soundscapes of "Pursuing Phantoms" Count G disappeared in The Boys Room in order to make his “commercial album”. When he emerged again covered with "Stains," he graciously laughed at the idea. Like a little book of musical poems, "Stains" exhibits much of the idiosyncratic sculpting of sound we’ve come to recognize as Count G’s signature. But it is also a point of departure, even as it references his fondness for weaving rhythmic arrangements with improvisational flights of fancy that we saw in his inaugural "Pyramid Coil."

"Stains" is a study of rhythm in a variety of musical modes, from drum-and-bass to ambient noise or free jazz. Almost all tracks are built upward from drum or percussion foundations. Special attention is given to the interplay between percussive sounds and reed instruments – Count G’s love of reeds goes back to his youthful clarinet improvisations and his formative relation to jazz. Oftentimes, reeds and horns explicitly carry the underlying pulse or work as counter-rhythms; other times they serve as interruptive noise makers or somnambulent backdrops.

Unlike previous records, there is little remixed material here, even as the integration of field recordings remains paramount. Instead, the music allows a lot of room for random developments and improvisational playing alongside constructed rhythms and strict arrangements. Yet, improvised solos are often transposed to tracks other than the ones in which they were generated, perhaps in the way that Frank Zappa called heterochronicity. The result is a strange coherence between otherwise disparate musical attitudes, interwoven by organic associations of sound that include their embrace of randomness.

Count G once said that the impetus for "Stains" was his son’s challenge to write music that he could play for his friends. Success in meeting this challenge can only be narrowly evaluated, but the idea that Count G might be foolish enough to want to make music that can be danced to, while still subverting expectations of how music is conventionally related to dance, may be the most intriguing dimension of this album.

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