ML Wah has always been the moniker that gave Matt LaJoie the most stretch. While he’s maintained a fairly robust catalog to say the least, it’s well to assume that releases under his own name will explore guitar improvisations, Starbirthed with dive into the Kosmiche, Herbcraft brings a bit of corrosion, and Ash & Herb curl through psychedelic folk territory. With the Wah, though, he’s a bit more mischievous. In the past few years the name has seen him balance devotional with din on Deep Roots and shine a light into dub caverns on Shinki Water. On Mirrored Night, Matt pushes aside the guitar entirely. The flames grow low and his focus turns to meditative piano cycles and electronics. The resulting album is some of his most patient and peaceful to date.
While admittedly not comfortable with the piano, LaJoie uses his courtship with instrument as a cleansing breath. Pieces tumble from the keys in the same rivulets that he’s been able to coax from strings. Rippling waters and light retractions remain in mind as Matt pours a sense of calm and clarity through the speakers. I’ve long love that the Wah takes chances with LaJoie’s catalog, and on Mirrored Night he proves that the gamble to embrace a new medium pays off. The hypnotic cradle of “Higher Key,” the flight patterns of “Cobalt Wings,” and the exaltation of the closer, “Liberation” are among the highlights, but this is solid record bound to reset the mind time and again.
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