I Was Real Image

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  • Summary: The third full-length release for the Brooklyn-based duo of Che Chen and Rick Brown features contributions from Sue Garner, Cheryl Kingan, Steve Maing, and Karen Waltuch.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jul 2, 2019
    This is still dense music, yes, but crucially it never alienates over its epic 68 minutes: you can drop in on this record at any point and still find a good time. As such, I Was Real feels like the band’s most thorough examination of itself yet--and is all the more satisfying as a result.
  2. Jul 1, 2019
    This fascinating, deeply involving record is more than just catnip for record nerds, though.
  3. The Wire
    Jul 1, 2019
    I Was Real isn’t going to disappoint 75 Dollar Bill’s old fans. ... Augmentations and roots moves do nothing to dilute 75 Dollar Bill’s essence. If anything, I Was Real is ultra-real. [Jul 2019, p.44]
  4. Uncut
    Jul 1, 2019
    These are ageless, thrillingly energised devotionals for our secular and fast-moving times, full of euphonious noise and the dust kicked up by their deep-dug grooves. [Aug 2019, p.27]
  5. 80
    It’s a Rorschach blot of a record: you can find whatever you’re looking for here, from loose stoner ambience to shamanic virtuosity, with album closer WZN3 turning into a loose, swinging, Tuareg-derived rock out.
  6. Jul 18, 2019
    I Was Real’s resulting stew is even more disparate than what came before – this time out, you can add boogie (Tetuzi Akiyama), jigs (WZN#3 (Verso)) and pure drone to the mixer – but still with the singular vision to bring everything together into one harmonious, joyous, borderless whole.
  7. Jul 24, 2019
    At 69 minutes, I Was Real is a lot to take in. Newcomers are advised to start with W/M/P/P/R/R, the concise, big band counterpart to I Was Real’s occasionally meandering chamber music. Still, I Was Real is sure to puzzle and please whether your devotion to rock and roll and its antecedents is intellectual or physical.

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Score distribution:
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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of

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