Ace Farren Ford, Dennis Duck, and Ju Suk Reet Meate (three original members) are joined by Rock ’N’ Roll Jackie (35 years in the band), John Wiese (approximately 10 years), and a cast of others form the current third phase Smegma. Personnel of this album, “Ballast”, consists of this line-up plus Charlie Mumma, a member of Sissy Spacek since 2008.
The source material of “Ballast” was recorded at home and on the Los Angeles radio station Dublab, but what we hear is not exactly Smegma and Sissy Spacek performing together as a live group. Wiese’s production of the recording is a kind of un-doing of the live group playing, forging it into a new collage of sound. It reminds us of genome editing which results in diversity, and sometimes in mutation, of organisms. The title of the album, “Ballast”, refers to a weight on a ship which improves it’s stability, but it is also a term for an electrical component that regulates electricity so as to not destroy the other components. It’s double meaning fits between the cover art and the collage process which is constantly partitioning and interrupting the elements of sound. —Takuya Sakaguchi