The first solo album by Ryan Weinstein is truly a world of its own. Under the name Coffin Prick (the singular version of Coffin Pricks, his group with Chris Thomson), Weinstein has built a musical ecosystem filled with rhyming sounds, hypnotically hermetic production, and a rhythmic gravity that keeps everything in orbit. Crafted entirely at his home in Los Angeles, Laughing is simultaneously isolated and welcoming, as if Weinstein is both reflecting his environment and opening it up for everyone to explore.
So many compelling sights and sounds await if you choose to accept Weinstein’s invitation and enter the universe of Laughing. Fiery guitar accents, spaced-out synth patterns, random sounds captured while dog-walking, and the echoey missives of Weinstein’s voice all dart around the stereo space like electrons circling a nucleus. That nucleus consists of his dazzling bass and drum structures, which form the heart of nearly every track here. He consistently finds loops that stick in your brain, sometimes sounding like post-punk from outer space, other times evoking classic dub shot through with helium or doused in gasoline.
Take a ride on “Ricochet in Limbo,” a piston-firing workout in which Weinstein’s slashing guitar cuts through synth detonations like a motorcycle in a minefield. Slide down “Smooth Rubber Ailment,” a funk-skimming jam whose chilly beat and blurry vocals suggest a haunted house dance party. Climb the rising stairs of “The Guild of Cowards,” a slow-burning instrumental that evokes the 1980s without sounding the least bit dated. Jump on the swing of “Laughing,” whose title signifies both the humor of Weinstein’s absurdist soundscapes and the way, as he puts it, laughing is “a sort of involuntary tell that humans can’t really hide behind.”
Humans actually were hiding a bit when Weinstein made Laughing, and in one sense that helped. As streets outside of his apartment emptied, he heard coyotes howling, and those sounds inspired him. As a result, there’s a sense of nostalgia here for open spaces, for places where sounds echo rather than getting drowned out. But ultimately Laughing feels outward and connective. By creating his own musical time and space, Weinstein has given us a new place to hang out.
Equipment Pointed Ankh
Originally the brainchild of Jim Marlowe (Tropical Trash, Teal Grapefruit, etc), Equipment Pointed Ankh has been churning out material since 2016, with a handful of tape releases, a previous LP, “Live” (Sophomore Lounge, 2019) and a dozen or so digital releases.
Since forming, EPA has focused on a sort of long-form blown out raga, noise, drone vibe with a rotating cast of players joining Marlowe at varying intervals. Within the past 2 years, we’ve seen this core group of five come together as a unit – Marlowe with Chris Bush (Flanger Magazine, Caboladies, Flower Man), Ryan Davis (State Champion, Tropical Trash), Shutaro Noguchi (Feeding Tube artiste) and Dan Davis (Tropical Trash).