75 Dollar Bill: I Was Real

One of the most exciting and original acts to emerge in the past decade is 75 Dollar Bill. Originally a minimalist duo made up of guitarist Che Chen and percussionist Rick Brown (his preferred instrument is a plywood crate), 75DB has slowly expanded its sonic palette to include strings, horns and bass, while still maintaining a laser-sharp focus. The band’s world is now big enough to incorporate Mauritanian-inspired guitar, Tony Conrad-esque drones, Lightning Hopkins-worthy boogie, Ornette Coleman covers and plenty more. 

75 Dollar Bill’s latest, the ambitious double LP I Was Real, might be their most satisfying work yet, bringing together a kaleidoscopic range of approaches, from expansively tranced out jams (the side-long title track) to blazing, stripped down duo workouts (the unbelievably locked-in “WZN #4”). This thing sprawls, but never meanders – its 70 minutes fly by. Wherever Chen and Brown take the listener, they do it with a pure sense of adventure, riding the current fearlessly. 

I Was Real lands on June 28 via Thin Wrist/Black Editions in the States and tak:til/Glitterbeat in Europe; it’s now available to pre-order and you can get a taste of the delights in store via the video (directed by Elkhorn’s Jesse Sheppard) below … words/t wilcox