Posts Tagged ‘Instrumental’

Tetuzi Akiyama

Guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama serves up a patient, contemplative album on his entry into the catalog of L.A.’s Besom Presse. While I’d normally associate Akiyama with raw sounds and the tattered remnants of boogie scattered around the sound field, here he’s jettisoned both the tube-fried effects and electric instrumentation altogether. The record, pieced together over a decade, lets the air still around the listener. Each note is purposeful and hangs – sanguine or sour — in the air for a moment before disputing into vaporous space. Its odd to hear an artist so based in the rhythmic thrum letting the whims of the wind push a song. There’s a real feeling that these compositions were tuned out of the ether, caught in mind and captured to tape so that they might not escape further contemplation.

There’s no ramble, no rollick. Like Loren Connors the songs paint a stark image, but one that digs its nails deep into the soul. Akiyama’s catalog runs deep, and it’s a dense run to get through, but here he proves that there’s still plenty of intrigue to be hand in following the tangents he winds down. Repeated listens pose this as an album of still water resolve, an anchor point in the chaos that surrounds us. The songs here are not pushy, not showy, but they let the mind wander in all directions. The wind in the trees, water on the wind, Akiyama in the headphones. This is the way of the fall.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Mary Lattimore

Each new album that arrives from harpist Mary Lattimore is a more gorgeous exploration of sound than the last. Lattimore’s work has the quality of soundtracks to forgotten films buried in the earth — wordless, imaginary flickers of celluloid that may or may not have existed but break our hearts all the same. With a low hum of synth, teardrops of guitar, and her shimmering harp work the songs on Silver Ladders hold the listener captive within the snowglobe sanctuary of its runtime. There’s a feeling of water all around the album, a glinting off of waves that recedes to the blue line where the water drops off and pulls deep. The songs swing from delicate to ominous over the course of the LP. As we progress the water’s gone from pleasure to peril — inviting us in with its azure hues and innocent glint of sunlight, but revealing a hungry pull towards dangerous depths.

To construct the works on Silver Ladders, Mary reached out on a whim to Slowdive’s Neil Halstead. He agreed to produce and over nine days at his airfield studio they worked through her songs to build an album that’s enveloping but also a bit more spare than some of her past works. Halstead adds guitar to several tracks, and his aqueous lines only add to the sense of submersion into the harrowing depths of Lattimore’s compositions. This is especially true on standouts “Don’t Look,” and “Sometimes He’s In My Dreams,” both of which feel like they’re turning points from serene to sinister. Lattimore has remained one of the most consummate and sought after collaborators of late, often elevating an album with her intuitive playing, but here, on her own works she proves that when she’s at the helm the harp becomes more than shading, it’s an entrancing force.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Gunn-Truscinski Duo

A decade into their partnership Gunn-Truscinski Duo continues to strip rock’s impulses back to its most basic elements. Despite Gunn’s rise to Matador namesake in more digestible waters, the pair have kept the Duo as an outlet of experimental edge — with Gunn’s guitar work weaving fragility and fury into instrumental bliss and Truscinski proving he’s an infinitely flexible foil. Much like contemporary Steven R. Smith, the pair are able to form compositions that radiate calm, dredge anxiety, and hound the listener with sonic horror, though they’re keeping close to the calm on Soundkeeper. As the record opens, they pad their way into the room with patience, not working to stun or shun the listener with a tumult unitl the moment is right. On through “Valley Spiral,” the record is coiled and cautious — picking through its motifs in slow spirals.

Once the band kicks into “Pyramid Merchandise,” though the tone changes. With a low-slung Gunn riff and an audible “whoo” sent up from the room, the duo begins to buck against the tide. Clangorous blues are wrestled and Gunn’s grit-teethed riffs grow fangs. John kicks the pace to match and the album lights a blaze against the forming darkness. From there the pair pushes through dirt-caked blues, crumbling under the Rust Belt’s weight before emerging once again with the languid, shimmering tones of calm waters once again. The title track pulls some tension once agan, urging them through 16+ minutes of wrangle and wain before skidding into the psychedelic blur in homage to Eddie Hazel that closes out the record, a smoldering elegy to the guitarist that rides away on the ashes of what they burnt down over the last hour. Its an excellent springboard into Three-Lobed’s new 20-year anniversary and a reminder of what’s made the label, and this band’s involvement in it over the years, so vital.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

William Tyler

While there are dozens of new releases, one off tracks, and compilations to dig through for the No Fee days, sometimes a truly amazing release wafts through the buzz of emails and twitter notifications. I’m prone to checking out anything by William Tyler, especially after last year’s stunner on Merge and the haunting First Cow soundtrack, but I wasn’t expecting another tender offering from him so soon. Recorded in isolation and partly with Scott Hirsch, the EP is based on loss, death, and impermanence. The songs here aren’t precious, but rather unflinching in their somber reflection of bearing witness to death, holding a mirror to grim reality and marking out the measure of it all. Tyler was inspired by the medieval concept of vanitias — juxtaposing death with the impermanence of eartly things, a theme that resonated through a culture threaded with death as a daily reality. It lands as prescient today as it might have then.

The EP sets itself apart from his recent works, turning away from the lighthearted, yet bittersweet ramble of Goes West but falling just shy of the stark landscapes of First Cow. Drones seem to play a bigger part, and the midsection numbness of “Slow Night’s Static,” in particular marks a haunted departure from his usual sound. The works here show Tyler’s prowess, but more so his restraint and it’s a lovely work to bear witness with us all.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Bobby Lee

Been greatly enjoying the sun-in sounds of this album from Bobby Lee. The Sheffield guitarist grapples his strings around a hook of of worn-denim instrumental psych country that’s pulling from JJ Cale, Golden Gunn, and the Natch sessions of Michael Chapman, with smoke tendrils of Bruce Langhorne threading through the mix. With Guy Whittaker (Sharron Kraus, Jim Ghedi, Big Eyes) on drums and percussion and Mark Armstrong on bass, Lee balances the band against the primitive snap of a drum machine that keeps time like white lines on the highway. The record is lent a grizzled cinematic feel that dredges up cheap motel rooms and dusty roads that are hardly traveled in the deep afternoon heat. There’s danger, there’s pain, there’s lament, but that’s reductive, there’s moments of peace here as well.

“Palomino” is a lonesome, picked number that dances around its own comfortability with the tenderness of a rider missing his or her horse.”Listings” is a three-way standoff between the night, Lee, and the amps. Bobby moves from the traditional — melding spirituals with Springsteen and letting Warren Zevon boil down into a sweatbox slink out of the record. Shakedown in Slabtown is slightly molten, shifting easily from swagger-stung confidence to trepidation and reserve. He ties it together well, though. Lee’s making his mark here, spinning classics into his own essence while crafting an album of personal mediations that spurn the impulse to sit still.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Lloyd Thayer and Jerome Deupree

Always happy when the Feeding Tube mailers arrive with something that hits outside of my consciousness but well within the site’s wheelhouse. Since that crew is constantly tilling the best musical soil, this happens pretty regularly to say the least. While plenty of Eastern and American Primitive guitarists happen through the halls here, I’ve not found an entry point into the work of Lloyd Thayer previously, despite his roster of 30+ CDs and cassettes. The Boston string-slinger is working in the earthen thrum blues styles that pulls from Basho and Bull while making a stop around Hamza El Din for good measure. The artist employs a Weissenborn-style lap guitar and a 22 stringed instrument called a Chaturangui, and he winds the album into a headspace that’s entrancing, soothing, yet dipped in a mild poison that brings about strange dreams.

Thayer’s playing is masterful but restrained, a quality I’ve begun to enjoy greatly in instrumental string albums. White-knuckle string runs come and go, but its worth an album’s weight to let the songs sink into skin-ripple tension and slo-motion slide visions. Thayer delivers the dose, but doesn’t come to the task alone. He brings with him the percussion work of Jerome Deupree — a session regular and immensely versatile player who’s resume boasts time with The Humans, Joe Morris, and a co-founding credit in Morphine as the band’s original drummer. His rhythms don’t drive so much as urge the record forward. Deupree plays off of Thayer’s work with a flexibility and grace that’s palpable. His playing sways with the slides of Thayer’s stings, giving the album an even greater tie to the tumble of the winds and the hum of the Earth.

With title nods to blues legends Al Wilson and Melvyn Marshall, shouts to hip-hop pioneer Ramelzee and the boats of Apocalypse Now the record’s certainly not hitting the usual notes for this kind of vibe, but that all adds too the charm and hypnotic hold that Duets brings to the turntable. The more I listen, the more this one latches on.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Laraaji

This one’s been easing me in and out of the days in perfect meditation and I’d have to say it’s highly recommended you do the same. New Age legend Laraaji has had quite a moment of late, moving away from his self-released tape niche in the past few years to be heralded by experimental outposts (Leaving Records, W. 25th) and archival houses (Numero) alike. On his latest for perpetual harbor All Saints, he leaves the drones and quavering harmonics of the zither behind to focus on rippling piano movements that wash the soul in the golden light of a half mast sun. While he grew up on the piano, the artist hasn’t really returned to it during his recording tenure. Instead he’s become known for the kind of body buzz harmonics and a New Age thrum that emanates from his echo-swathed instrument of choice. The lack of effects offers a marked difference here. With the help of Jeff Ziegler (The War on Drugs, Mary Lattimore) he captures the piano in a Brooklyn church, letting it feel out the space around it with a natural harmony.

The pieces are simple, but far from minimal. Approaching the instrument with the same bubbling glee, tinged with a slight whiff of sadness that has come through in his zither work over the years, Sun Piano is as centered as any of his works. Cascades of notes sluice through the spirit of the listener, unlocking lost memories, deep tensions, and well-up worries and dispersing them with a sonic acupressure. The joy that Laraaji brings to music is imbued in every fluttering note, and its clear that in his second stage the piano might begin to play an important part in his output. If this is only the beginning of that shift, I’m her for what’s to come. If this is all we get, then I’ll just have to cherish the shining embers of Sun Piano as often as possible.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Mary Lattimore -“Sometimes He’s In My Dreams”

It seems like a day built to realign the soul, and there’s few better suited than Mary Lattimore. Following a couple of excellent collaborations with Meg Baird and Mac McCaughan, Lattimore’s latest expands on her collaborative spirit, swaying away from her typically hermetic solo LPs to include Slowdive’s Neil Halstead as producer and collaborator. Though it’s under a solo banner, the inclusion of Halstead shades this one differently from her previous LP on Ghostly. On “Sometimes He’s In My Dreams,” Lattimore’s harp sparkles off the tops of the waves in rotating diamonds of sound — luminous and airy. Halstead’s guitar drapes alongside her with a melancholy heaviness that digs into the bones. The album centers around a beachside tragedy and both the environmental beauty and accompanying sorrow hang in a balance over the track, giving it an uneasy quality despite its shimmering hues. The record, Silver Ladders is out October 9th and this first listen gives good reason to mark that calendar.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Jeffrey Silverstein

Played a bit of this on the last RSTB radio show, but as the excellent mass of great albums this year has outweighed my free time, I’m just now getting this one up on the site. Silverstein has created a meditative oasis of gently loping guitars and cool waters of pedal-steel. Inspired by the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, long distance running, and the sunbaked brevity of lost icon Ted Lucas, the record has an innate laid-back quality to it that tends to pass by with a touch of highway hypnosis. Among the marbled greenery of Silverstein’s playing the listener is invited to look inward. Time passes inside tis bubble while the rest of the world slinks by in time-lapse. I’m not going to use the reviled term of 2020 here, this isn’t a balm of sorts, but instead a reset, a meshing with the earth and sky to achieve balance.

There’s a feeling of photosynthesis to the album, as if the vibrations between the light refracted off of You Become The Mountain can energize the listener. The slow pacing never lags, but lingers in just the right manner. Silverstein, along with Barry Walker Jr. (Mouth Painter, Roselit Bone) and Alex Chapman (Parson Redheads, Evan Thomas Way) help to slow down the frantic pace of the year, an asset to an album if there ever was one. While moored in folk, the record takes many of its cues from the amniotic float of Kosmiche while keeping a bit of Neu in the rearview. The latter crops up in the subliminal click of programmed drums that are ever obscured by the heat lines rolling off of the pavement. The elements come together nicely to form an album that suffused with the natural world – the fresh green smell of cut plants, the warmth of wooden surfaces in the sun, the gentle sound of cotton curtains in the breeze. While it seems simple, Silverstein makes the ordinary feel essential for just a few moments.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Waterless Hills

Manchester’s Waterless Hills lay an absolute gem on us, quietly eking out an eerily calm eddy of prog from under the scarred English skies. The group, which features previous Feeding Tube alum C Joynes on guitar and Dan Bridgeood-Hill on violin (Irma Vep, Charles Hayward), trades in a dark strain of folk that wanders the streets at dusk and wanders states of reality after that sun finally sets. There’s an outworld quality to the songs of The Great Mountain, and as much as that title conjures up visions of Jodorowsky’s nightmare wonders, the band makes good on them with aural imagery that’s as tarnished by ash, sand, and soil as his films. The record is dried by the sun — scorched, leathered, and laid bare — and in many moments that simmers from the speakers there’s a feeling of palpable sweat seeping through the songs. It’s not constant, though, there’s the respite of dusk and the cool ripples of clean water tumbling through natural cut rock in the bones here as well.

The guitars chime and bend, roll and ramble. The drums crash and skitter with a malevolent force and all the while that violin drags us to our feet time and time again to take the journey to the mountain on the mantle. The journey is the through line and we, as listeners, arrive changed certainly, but not exhausted. Instead there’s an elation, an unplaceable euphoria humming through the invisible wires of Waterless Hills’ offering to the endless horizon. Aside from a lone lathe cut sourced from the same sessions this is the band’s only output, but here’s hoping its not the last. The record finds its home here in the states on Feeding Tube and abroad in the arms of Cardinal Fuzz. Best grab one of these because neither of those labels has a tendency to let record sit idle in their bins.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments