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David Grubbs & Mats Gustafsson


Improved Sequence


Released: 8th Oct 2021


David Grubbs and Mats Gustafsson currently make up 2/3s of The Underflow, the trio with Rob Mazurek, but their history stretches back into the last century, when they crossed paths during a serious Chicago heyday and Mats appeared on Gastr del Sol’s Upgrade & Afterlife.

Off-Road, originally released on CD by Blue Chopsticks in 2002, is Grubbs and Gustafsson’s second of two duo albums, the follow-up to Apertura (1999). Apertura consists of two long improvised duos for harmonium and reeds, making it the slowest, steadiest boil in either participant’s discography. Off-Road finds the two of them forsaking their earlier, near-static m.o. for a shower of digitally re-composed slivers, the metal-on-metal timbre of a saxophone equipped with contact mics, Grubbs’s chiming electric guitar, backstage field recording (a glass-topped table full of bottles dragged along a concrete floor), and Gustafsson’s Pro Rhythm analog synthesizer clipped to the bell of his horn. (The combination of reeds, guitar, and analog electronics seems an eerie precursor to The Underflow.) Turntablist Henry Moore Selder makes a couple of guest appearances marked by sharp rhythmic counterpoint and low-frequency warbles and moans.


  1. Pumpkin Creek
  2. Three If By Train
  3. Rendezvous Up North
  4. Dystopian Turboprop
  5. Skiing + Shooting
  6. Back Off