The Double - Dawn Of The Double LP
Label: In The Red
Can you dance and meditate at the same time? Talking to one of The Double before a Brooklyn gig in the summer of 2014, I was told they were going to play a "dance piece." I wasn't sure how to take that, but it slowly began to make sense as I watched their stunning set. The music struck an odd balance between perpetual motion and perpetual stasis: the drummer, Jim White (Dirty Three, Venom P Stinger), maintained a modified Bo Diddley beat, switching between the snare and the toms after long stretches on each, while the guitarist, Emmett Kelly (Cairo Gang, Ty Segall & the Muggers), stuck steadfastly to an E chord. They took the underpinning of countless rock 'n' roll songs – the rhythm section – and decisively moved it to the foreground. It soon became clear that this wasn't going to be the average concert of discrete songs or pieces – so the question then became how long they would sustain the groove for.
The answer turned out to be 45 entrancing minutes. Maybe it could be likened to Rhys Chatham's "Guitar Trio," which also puts a rock 'n' roll backbeat to a droning, solitary chord, but The Double's vision of rock minimalism is more tied to both rock rhythm guitar and the drum's more traditional role in rock's invitation to dance. And unlike "Guitar Trio" (or the '90s techno genre Trance, for that matter), The Double didn't build up notes and rhythms until a breakdown section where the process started all over again; they went into it full bore and never let up. The Double's music is both mesmerizing and propelling, allowing for potential mental and physical stimulation. These guys eradicate the proverbial mind-body split with little more than strings, sticks and skins. – Alan Licht