Dean Spunt & John Wiese

The Echoing Shell

Image of Dean Spunt & John Wiese - The Echoing Shell
Record Label
Drag City

About this item

With their duo debut, Dean Spunt and John Wiese invite you to experience the frenzy of percussive space and discreet sound found inside ‘The Echoing Shell’.

This is the first official collaboration between the two veteran music-makers, though their connection goes back to 1999. As John recalls, “[Dean] was in a high school arts program at CalArts. A friend and I were recording the first Sissy Spacek demo in the design studios there, and taking a tape to my car over and over again to check the mix. Dean was walking through the parking lot with a Locust shirt on, we said hello, and he immediately got into a car with two strangers to ‘listen to a tape’.

"The tape-listening ended well, apparently. Dean and John became friends and fellow travellers in LA circles and beyond: in 2005, John did a remix for Dean’s first band, Wives; in 2007, Dean played percussion with Sissy Spacek’s 13-Tet Los Angeles; John toured with No Age several times and collaborated live with them in 2010.

Under the Sissy Spacek name as well as his own, John’s recordings for his own Helicopter label and many others kicked things off for him around the end of the century; since then, he’s been constantly engaged in solos and collaborations on record, performances, and installations around the world. In addition to Dean’s ever-growing discography with No Age, he curates his own label, Post Present Medium. In 2018, Radical Documents released Dean’s solo debut ‘EE Head’, which explored concrète and experimental techniques in a four-part, album length piece. 

‘The Echoing Shell’ is born of Dean and John’s shared understanding, using John’s process common to Sissy Spacek: elaborate sound-collage works using source material originating from punk, hardcore and improvised music. A series of impositions, tape manipulation and edits recompose the material, cracking open the crust of the source, freeing its implied guts to steam forth in gushes of extreme noise. On ‘The Echoing Shell’, this is as often noise as it is extreme intimacy, seeming at times to be sourced from within Dean’s drumkit, at other times appearing to emanate from the capsules of microphones and the circuits of the signal path itself.

One may read these collaged sounds as abstraction, but there is a unique language conveyed in their assembly, forming something like word-shapes and meaning. And intention: the two side-long pieces, comprised of many short sections, form a linear whole, creating alternately ripping and discriminating music - and meaning - in the process.

‘The Echoing Shell’ is a fantastic conception in contemporary musique concrète, combining incendiary post-rock power, dry humour and astonishing depth of field. Whether projecting the sound through headphones, ear buds, bookshelf speakers or your own personal amp stack, crank up ‘The Echoing Shell’.


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