There are still more corners of my listening pile to unearth and this one’s been popping to the top now and again. The latest LP by young string wrangler Eli Winter is a lovely, meditative record that’s rooted in the traditions of Basho and Rose, with a nod to the rise of Bachman before him as a player of promising talent who only continues to outdo himself. Opening strong on Unbecoming, Eli works his way through the nearly 23-minute “Either I Would Become Ash” — a dizzying display of fingerpicked folk with a tender touch. The song swirls like snow on the wind, dancing in the light and bringing a touch of lighthearted magic to the record.
The rest of the LP doesn’t flag in its warm embrace. “Maroon,” pales in length to the opener, but its marked by an immediacy that shines. With Sam Wagster (Mute Duo) on pedal steel guitar, Cameron Knowler is on nylon-string guitar, and Tyler Damon (Circuit Des Yeux) on drums, the quartet lets this one gather the rose glow of dawn. The song’s full of promise and a refreshed feeling that, frankly I could use more of in the coming months. He ends the record with a live cut, which expresses a more raw side. While the tonal shift pulls the listener out of the magic of “Maroon,” “Dark Light” still showcases exactly what makes Winter’s playing so vital. It’s technical, but woven with grace. Winter’s is a talent that’s certainly worth watching and the proof is woven into the bones of Unbecoming. Its a stitched together collection of highs that while disparate feel like they’re leading to bigger statements in the future.
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