On Ain't it Grand / Journey to the Center of Something or Other, Bhob Rainey and Chris Cooper took a stab at imitating each other. While not a collaborative effort, the resulting tracks gave insight into the sort of music both generally create. Rainey's track shows how frenetic Cooper's music is, particularly under the Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase moniker and in noise "rock" band Fat Worm of Error. Cooper's piece is also noisy but it reveals the more reserved approach to sound design that Rainey aims for in his solo works and Nmperign.
Both artists were involved in The BSC but as Rainey was the director and founder of the ensemble, the project sounded more in line with his own works. Consequently, Hot Shaker Meet Lead Donut is the first truly collaborative release from Rainey and Cooper and the result is one of the most satisfying records from either artist to date. It's an interesting title—both items are lab equipment, one stirs liquids while the other stabilizes the flasks that contain them. And appropriately, the combination of these artists leads to a volatile but carefully controlled reaction.
"Vapor Viper" opens up the record with shrieking from both Rainey's sax and Cooper's processed guitar/electronics. There's piercing high-pitched noise heard but it's balanced by sounds that frenetically pan across both channels. It all eventually fades out into the sound of church bells and the song thereafter stays relatively mild. Field recordings and oscillating tones occupy much of the space for the duration of the recording but the electric squelches return about two-thirds of the way in. It's a fascinating and thoroughly detailed track, one whose louder moments contrast and give purpose to the quieter one and vice versa.
"Igotu Otius" is even more ambitious than "Vapor Viper". While it doesn't feel quite as cinematic, largely due to its nonlinear progression, it's mostly fascinating for how it arranges and balances its collage of sounds. On the track we have numerous musicians playing a variety of instruments—cello, contrabass, harp, viola, and dry ice—and that's on top of all the electronic whirring and input that Rainey and Cooper have. It never sounds obnoxiously erratic though: each plucked string and dizzying burst of noise is in its proper place. It's a real treat, a product of mindful mixing and adventurous composing. Both of those ingredients have existed in previous releases from Rainey and Cooper but with Hot Shaker Meet Lead Donut, it seems more apparent than ever.