Just after a split release with Ezra Feinberg, John Kolodij embarks on his first true solo release away from the High Aura’d name. The release, which sees light thanks to Jazz imprint Astral Spirit’s more freeform sister label Astral Editions, is an album of two minds. Representing multiple sides of Koldij’s oeuvre. Each half contains a sidelong composition and on the a-side we’re thrust into the depths of “First Fire.” Built on gnawing drones and frothing static, the track is menace come to inhabit the recesses of the mind. Anxiety is at the forefront and its all encompassing with Kolodij’s drones rising up like insurmountable edifices in the dark. Here his collaborator Anna Rg provides just a touch of violin, but its lost in the onslaught of darkness that permeates the track.
It’s the second side that brings back the light. After the hurricane of howl that side one brings, Kolodij swings pastoral for the flip, paring field recordings with banjo, guitar, and a much less imposing drone for one of his most calming offerings to date. With a light lope of repetition, “At Dawn” makes good on the promise of its title, feeling like the world just waking — a dew dusted respite from the chaos that comes once the light reaches the top of the mountain. Rg’s fiddle returns and here she’s given much more space to maneuver, driving the song with a refreshing breeze of sound that’s cold, but forgiving. On the whole this is a nice addition to the High Aura’d helmer’s catalog, but if it is indeed a new dawning of works under his given name, it works well as a statement of purpose.
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