New York label Dull Tools, run by members of Parquet Courts, has given the world a tape of an unlikely Chicago collaboration: four untitled instrumentals by noise punks Running and pastoral jazz-folk guitarist and singer Ryley Walker. In 2016, which now feels like a lifetime ago, Walker and all three members of Running holed up in the home studio of engineer Cooper Crain (from Cave and Bitchin Bajas) and laid down the tracks on Running & Ryley Walker. (They’d initially plan to title it Walking, and I’m still sorry they didn’t.)
The songs’ variety of styles—nasty, fried ambience, dissonant Krautrock, rhythmic postpunk—find a bizarre middle ground between the two artists’ sounds, less harsh and more controlled than Running but far more raw than Walker. The tape’s highlight is the second track: its simple, pushy psychedelic punk showcases mind-bending guitar interplay between Running’s Jeffery Tucholski (those are his explosive blasts of distortion in the left channel) and Walker (whose complex chords dance in the right channel). They bounce off each other beautifully—as you can hear below.
Running & Ryley Walker is available in physical and digital editions through Dull Tools.