Free improvising guitarist Jon Lipscomb comes from Baltimoreis but now resides in Malmö, Sweden, and collaborates with local musicians like sax hero Martin Küchen, pianist Tilda Björnberg (with whom he self-released the duo album An Arrangement in a System to Pointing, 2022), trombonist Ola Rubin, double bass player Johannes Nästesjö and drummers Anders Uddeskog (Lipscomb, Rubin and Uddeskog released their first album as ThebSwedish Fix in 2017) Fredrik Håkansson. Conscious Without Function is Lipscomb’s debut solo album, recorded by himself at Moriska Paviljongen in Malmö, and was also mixed and mastered by himself.
In his solo work, unlike his free jazz meets free improvisation bands, Lipscomb pushes the electric guitar to its utmost limits and produces a series of nervous and urgent, dissonant tones that flirt with post-rock and noise. The electric guitar becomes in his hands an unpredictable, sonic entity with uncompromising power and tangible energy, almost with life and reason of its own, and the six pieces presented here are based on fragmented, free-associative ideas that exhaust the electric guitar’s infinite resonant qualities. Lipscomb uses effects like distortion or feedback but in a reserved manner, sporadically strumming the guitar strings in familiar but still ‘out’ manners (check the Hendrixian «Phatic Culture»), and more often sounds as if struggling furiously with the guitar. Sudden eruptions of raw, abstract, or punishing noise are key elements in his sonic vocabulary and only the last piece «Desacralization» suggests some twisted lyrical and spacious landscapes.
It may take some repeated listening to decipher Lipscomb’s guitar freak-outs but Conscious Without Function certainly delivers a wild ride.
Jon Lipscomb (el.g)