The Squid's Ear Magazine

Corsano, Chris / Bill Orcutt: Play at Duke [VINYL] (Palilalia)

Performing together for more than a decade at the time of this recording at the 2022 Three Lobed Records 21St Anniversary Festival at Duke University in Durham, NC, the duo of guitarist Bill Orcutt and drummer/percussionist Chris Corsano burn through three distinct improvisations that pack in a wealth of ideas, styles and moods in a tight and cathartic set.

Price: $24.95


In Stock

Quantity in Basket: None

Log In to use our Wish List
Shipping Weight: 24.00 units

product information:

UPC: 843563162378

Label: Palilalia
Catalog ID: PAL 075LP
Squidco Product Code: 33447

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded At Duke Univeristy, in North Carolina, Saturday April 16, 2022 At The Three Lobed 21St Anniversary Festival, By Jonas Blank.


Chris Corsano-drums, percussion

Bill Orcutt-guitar

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Few sounds in music are as instantly recognizable as the searching sting of guitarist Bill Orcutt and the cyclical propulsion of drummer Chris Corsano. At the same time, every single performance or recording I've heard by the duo has been markedly different, discovering new paths with a given set of tools. For more than a decade now they've been meeting up to instigate visceral sonic journeys without a map, engaging in elliptical dialogues with one another, but more often conjuring twinned excursions that occur with a kind of telepathic independence. They don't need to plan or discuss what will happen when they get together. They simply jump in and see where things go, pushing and pulling when necessary, yet more often letting each other roam freely with the knowledge that they've a rapport that can weather all storms.

The performance captured on Play at Duke was taped at the von der Heyden Studio Theater in the Rubenstein Arts Center on the campus of Duke University. The set closed out a three-day festival celebrating the 21st anniversary of Three Lobed Records, and the music they made feels utterly galvanic, a fitting conclusion by turns triumphant and bloodied. The set clocks in at just under 26 minutes but there's nothing lacking, nothing slight. The best performances fuck with time, as this sublime encounter does. The duo were in an obvious flow straight out the gate, with Orcutt unleashing fat, fragmented arpeggios that morph from anthemic chords to flickering long tones-tense moments of repose that anticipate some new digression a la Hendrix. In the first of the three "Play at Duke" the duo packs in so many discrete ideas and dialogues that it's hard to believe they only needed eight minutes to get it done.

Orcutt and Corsano sets are thrilling, in part, because we don't know what will happen. Will they gel, butt heads, or get cranky. The guitarist sometimes delves into his Harry Pussy roots and unleashes a post-hardcore sally to shake things up, whether it seems necessary or not, but with this particular set there's no doubt that the pair is sync. Ideas, motifs, needling lines (shadowed, of course, by Orcutt's wordless falsetto screamed out into the air) pile up with pure compositional logic, each new melodic theme or textural divot flowing out of the previous one with remarkable ease and fluidity. Both musicians can access all sorts of traditions at the blink of an eye. The second piece opens explosively, with Corsano delivering a singular kind of flailing energy that's nevertheless completely liquid, while Orcutt jerks between post-no wave skree, ominously prescient chords that channel the aggression of AC/DC and Hound Dog Taylor, and upper register stabs that that both tap into some primordial wellspring of the blues and fling clusters of sound at gravity, seeking to be free of our planet's limitations. The album's final piece begins with repose, a breath-catching reset of contemplative tenderness that gradually opens up, the duo teetering at the edge of an explosion that never really arises, as a lyric quality manages to ride the cresting wave of energy, cutting back- and-forth into a sudden, crystal-clear denouement that feels like destiny."-Palilalia

Artist Biographies

"First spellbound by freely improvised music in the mid-1990s after witnessing performances by TEST, William Parker, Cecil Taylor, and others, Chris Corsano began a long-standing, high-energy partnership with Paul Flaherty in 1998. A move from western Massachusetts to the UK in 2005 led Corsano to develop an expanded solo music of his own, incorporating sax reeds, violin strings and bows, pot lids, and other everyday household items into his drum kit. In February 2006 he released his first solo recording, The Young Cricketer, and toured extensively throughout Europe, USA, and Japan. He spent 2007 and '08 as the drummer on Björk's Volta world tour, all the while weaving in shows and recordings on his days off with the likes of Evan Parker, Virginia Genta, and C. Spencer Yeh. Moving back to the U.S. in 2009, Corsano returned focus to his own projects, most notably a duo with Michael Flower, Rangda (with Sir Richard Bishop and Ben Chasny) and solo work, now revamped to include synthesizers and contact microphones in addition to his drum set and home-made acoustic instruments.

In addition to the those mentioned above, he's also worked with, among others: John Edwards (released by: Clean Feed/Dancing Wayang), Jim O'Rourke & Akira Sakata (Drag City/Family Vineyard), Paul Dunmall (ESP-Disk), Nels Cline (Strange Attractors), Jessica Rylan (Load Records), Jandek (Corwood), Sunburned Hand Of Man (Manhand), MV&EE (Eclipse/Time-Lag), Vampire Belt (Open Mouth), Joe McPhee (Roaratorio), and Wally Shoup (Leo/Columbia Japan)."

-Chris Corsano Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Bill Orcutt (born February 2, 1962) is an American guitarist and composer whose work combines elements of blues, punk, and free improvisation. Inspired by seeing Muddy Waters in The Last Waltz, Orcutt began playing the guitar as a teenager in Miami. In 1992, he formed the band Harry Pussy with his wife, Cuban/American drummer and vocalist Adris Hoyos. The group recorded three LPs and toured the US frequently, often in support of indie bands like Sonic Youth and Sebadoh. Their music, which drew from American no wave, hardcore punk and free jazz was influential and "served as a progenitor for the Noise movement." In 1997 the band dissolved and the couple divorced. Orcutt moved to San Francisco and took a long hiatus from music, returning in 2009, with an LP of solo guitar entitled A New Way To Pay Old Debts which was well received, ranking 3rd of 2009 in the The Wire magazine's annual "Rewind" list. His follow-up release How The Thing Sings was similarly praised, reaching number 3 on NPR's The Best Outer Sound Albums Of 2011. Since 2009, Orcutt has toured often appearing at festivals in the US and Europe, including Hopscotch, Incubate, Le Nouveau Festival du Centre Pompidou, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Donau and Big Ears. Typically a solo performer, Orcutt has also recorded or performed with Loren Mazzacane Connors, Chris Corsano, Peter Brotzmann and Alan & Richard Bishop."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Play at duke 1 08:21

2. Play at duke 2 08:22

3. Play at duke 3 09:00

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Rock and Related
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Improvised Rock
Guitarists, &c.
Percussion & Drums
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Duo Recordings
New in Rock Forms
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Search for other titles on the label:

Recommended & Related Releases:

The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

© 2002-, Squidco LLC