Posts Tagged ‘William Tyler’

Leon III – “Fly Migrator”

A new single slips out under the radar from Houston’s Leon III and the band embraces extended lengths on the winding, almost ten minute “Fly Migrator.” Again produced by Mark Nevers (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Silver Jews) as was their debut LP, the cut boasts William Tyler on guitar among the nebulous, dawn-light mists. The band rises slow setting into a sauntered grooved before wide vistas of vocal harmonies, misted synths, and shuffling beat. The band never loses cool and while the song feels like it might want to break into fiery guitar, the band keep things simmering just below the boiling point. It’s a nice opening salvo, and I’m interested to see how it might tie into any other new material. No word if this is a standalone offering or if there’s a new LP on the way, but for now, this is a decent amount to chew on.




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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.





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RSTB Best of 2019

2019’s drawing to a close, so I suppose this is the place to tie it all up. I’ve mentioned in years past that ‘best’ is a hard line to draw around the music from the year. From a blog perspective ‘favorite’ seems more appropriate, but then for all intents and purposes my choices are qualitatively the best to me, if not necessarily quantitatively best in the sense of the zeitgeist. The drive to figure out what’s best seems to just consolidate consensus and we’re all treated to dozens of lists that cross over with each other, especially in the top spots. I’ve long been a proponent of niche. I say long live finding your voice and letting others find theirs – we can all compare notes and discover new music in the process. I don’t need anyone to sand the edges and offer up a list that’s all inclusive. I like the edges. These are my favorites from a great year, edges and all.

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Best of 2019 (so far)

It’s been a hell of a year so far and now it’s time to run down the albums that have stuck around the turntable the longest. For all the fraught emotions and everyday injustices, there’s still some bright spot of solace in music. That’s not a trade-off, but its something to keep you going. As usual, these are the best records that filter through the Raven aesthetic. I’ll be off next week on vacation so this 30-spot plus the ensuing two and a half hour mix will have to hold you for a week. Gonna take a break until the 2nd week of July. The second half of the year already has a few front runners, so enjoy these gems before the tail end of 2019 comes running atcha.

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William Tyler

For Goes West William Tyler presents the clearest vision for his Cosmic Country yet. He’s taken a stab in the past and begun to build the mythology, but it’s here that he’s found a way to capture just how the sun dips low on the horizon. Though they appear on the album, Tyler himself doesn’t pick up the electric guitar, focusing solely on the fluid ramble of the acoustic strings to evoke the endless expanse of the American West. He does so with the touch of a craftsman. Within the wilds of fingerpicked guitar there are many guises – the virtuoso, the devout (ragas), the folk hero, the convert – but Tyler approaches picking with a storyteller’s grace. Without so much as a cough the album lays out emotional tales that seem universal – heart swells and salt flats rung through with the pluck of warm strings.

Though he’s clearly quite adept, Tyler steers clear of the virtuoso palette. He’s not working to stun listeners into submission, but rather to lull them into bliss. The album is a warm companion, a sense memory, a feeling of loss just off the tip of the tongue. There are moments that shudder to life like someone just stepped on your grave, but left a flower in passing. There’s something about the record that seems to slow time entirely, rolling by with the white line hypnotism of a desert highway, letting the scenery unfold in a panorama that’s too big to hold onto from a seat not big enough to stretch your legs. In that way its both too big to fathom and so intimately close that Tyler’s strings wrap around you and hold you safe like a seatbelt.

The pace of modern life is regrettably rushed, if it’s not necessarily always frantic, it’s at least overwhelming in its grab for our attentions. Goes West is a magnetic pull away from that feeling. Even when the record is on in the background it slows the listener down and adds a few more colors to the day. With this Tyler has made a statement about slow living, staring just a touch longer, and letting the ache of life burrow in a little deeper.



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