Mike Gangloff has had a busy last couple of years, with new works coming out from The Black Twig Pickers, Pelt, and Eight Point Star. He serves up yet another addition to that bunch this month with a solo record on VHF that finds the balance between the traditions of the latter two and the more outre aspirations of the former. Evening Measures is steeped in bluegrass trappings, putting Gangloff’s fiddle front and center, though the record swaps in much of the exuberance and communal spirit for solo pondering that plunges the melodies into an entrancing candlelight lilt.
Underscored with drone, or simply left bone dry, the fiddle often works towards something ceremonial — folk traditions that pick at pieces of Eastern European tapestries as often as those of the Appalachians. “I’m Asking” saws through sadness and solace with a sour stomach, a feeling of loss permeating the piece. The opener captures that firelight flicker, but like the rest, there seems to be something heavier rippling beneath the surface. Even at its most free-spirited on “Wild Goose Chase,” Gangloff lends a caustic edge, threading the needle between anxiety and glee. If you’re already watching Gangloff’s previously mentioned outlets, then this will act as an amiable companion to the works from the last few years, but on its own, Evening Measures stands as a work of startling depth.
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