Review: Thurston Moore ‘Screen Time’

Thurston Moore needs little introduction, best known as the extremely inventive and experimental guitarist/singer with Sonic Youth, also as an accomplished solo artist since his departure from the band in 2011. For approximately twenty-six years Sonic Youth released sixteen albums every one of them essential. Thurston and his cohort Lee Ranaldo reinvented the electric guitar with a unique, powerful, and experimental sound from their first album Confusion Is Sex in 1983 right up to The Eternal in 2009. This man has been through a lot.

Thurston Moore 'Screen Time'

The use of different guitar tunings had never been used to this extent before in rock ‘n’ roll, making for interesting and new ways of presenting music. The standard guitar tuning of EADGBE made way for a new language with GABDEG and CCEBGD entering the equation. The early 20th Century blues guys had different tunings, but nothing like this, and the early 1990s alternative music scene would have been pretty empty without Sonic Youth’s influence on hundreds of bands. There are many bands out there who owe them a debt of gratitude to this day and without doubt they were just as influential as their own heroes The Stooges and the Velvet Underground.

The desire to experiment with sound and atmospheres, plus screw with conventional ways of doing things has never left Thurston Moore. To date he has now released seven solo albums, including this long player, Screen Time. However, to add to this the ‘Discogs’ albums database lists, it features an additional, and incredible, 150 releases that includes collaborations with such luminaries as John Zorn and Yoko Ono, he certainly keeps himself busy.

The use of acoustic and electric instruments on Screen Time creates a hypnotic and ethereal atmosphere suited to a relaxed state of body and mind. It was originally released on Bandcamp as a surprise on February 5th, 2021, it’s now been reissued by Southern Lord and consists of ten instrumental guitar tracks. Warning – Nothing rocks here or is abrasive, it’s suitable for chill out, background music, comforting and maybe capable of doing you a lot of good, should you suffer from high blood pressure or a stressed-out lifestyle. This record will do you good.

The use of acoustic and electric instruments on Screen Time creates a hypnotic and ethereal atmosphere…

Moore said of the title, ‘While our societies have become wholly engaged with the virtual universe of online interaction the work of filmmakers, musicians, painters, poets and dancers continues to offer dreamworld expressions of both reality and the imagination. Art is an offering. When you open up your screen, send a message of love and gratitude to someone. If it’s within your means, send aid to those in need. Screen time is now time, it is always time for change. A change for the better. What better time than now. Create, instigate, debate, never hate, sleep late, embrace fate, make a movie date, destroy and skate.’

Ending at just over forty minutes, I suggest you put this album on repeat and revel in its glory. Be influenced to create something similar because it is possible, even with limited and a non-conventional musical ability, to express yourself, Sonic Youth taught us this. ‘Be yourself because nobody can steal that’ or criticize it to quote Iggy Pop. Some will love it, some will hate it, so what? Thurston has taught us that. To lead and not to follow is the way and judging by Screen Time he still believes in that and follows that principle when creating, which is to be applauded.

Still highly unique and making great records all these years later. Thank god for Thurston Moore.

Label: Southern Lord
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Scribed by: Tim Keppie