mimicry records

Good For Cows



Good for Cows began as a duo in 1999 when Devin Hoff (string bass) and Ches Smith (drums) would meet regularly to work on musical ideas from a rhythm section's perspective. At first the two focused on creative interpretations of jazz compositions, particularly the music of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Charles Mingus. It wasn't long before their shared love of independent rock ('punk') bands such as Black Flag, Minutemen, Minor Threat began to inform the duo's sound in their use of timbre, aggressive energy, and personal voice. Equally important were devices such as multidirectional rhythm, aural cues, and investigations of distinctive sound worlds gleaned from study of contemporary composer/performers Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Cecil Taylor, Fred Frith, and Wadada Leo Smith. Good for Cows have since written numerous compositions and improvisations, searching for the strengths of the spare bass and drums instrumentation. They released their self-titled debut CD in 2001 (Evander Music), 'Less Than or Equal to' on (former Deerhoof guitarist) Rob Fisk's Free Porcupine Society label in 2003, 'Bebop Fantasy' on Asian Man Records in 2004, and the limited edition '10th Anniversary Concert' on the Czech Bleeding Ear imprint in 2008. Good for Cows currently performs in the US and internationally.

mimicry releases

good for cows @ myspace


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mimicry releases

(WoM 037) - 2010

Futurists Against the Ocean


Good for Cows’ fourth full-length, AUDUMLA finds the formerly acoustic, instrumental ‘crust jazz’ bass and drums duo starting afresh. Constraints of flying with an upright bass, increasing volumes, and a steady listening diet of Black Metal and Harsh Noise music have lead Ches Smith (Xiu Xiu, Secret Chiefs 3, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog) and Devin Hoff (Nels Cline Singers, Xiu Xiu) to reinvent their sound with electric bass, large drums, and electronics.

They use their extensive backgrounds in improvised music for sonic experimentation in the service of the songs, resulting in a compact record with no filler. The Ornette Coleman influence remains, but now is filtered through a lens of early Mayhem, Prurient, Abruptum and Darkthrone. Nine noisy instrumental jams, from dirgey to blasting -- but all heavy.

  1. Audumla
  2. Fafnir
  3. Legion [mp3]
  4. Lenore
  5. Secret Hobbies [mp3]
  6. Solfell (Mountains on the Sun) [mp3]
  7. Material
  8. Invisible Goth [mp3]
  9. the Last (When All Bonds Are Broken)

Among the musicians in Xiu Xiu’s core rotation is Ches Smith, a drummer with one foot in experimental jazz. Good for Cows is his instrumental duo with the bassist Devin Hoff, who served his own stint in Xiu Xiu not long ago; “Audumla” (Web of Mimicry), their fifth album together, revolves around a tangle of shared interests, most of them dark and dense. Since forming in 1999, Good for Cows has been an acoustic band, if an unusually noisy one. Here, though, Mr. Hoff plays electric bass guitar, making the aggression all the more explicit. A track called “Secret Hobbies” lurches and then lunges through a haze of distorted overtones; on “Legion” the glacial crush of doom metal gives way to something sweaty and spasmodic. It’s all good punishment, and to their credit, Mr. Hoff and Mr. Smith rarely leave you longing for a foreground. The murk is the music.

-- Nate Chinen, New York Times




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