Wednesday, October 13, 2010

R. Sawyer - I Burn [Bridgetown]/Kevin Greenspon - Corridor [Bridgetown]

Couple of short discs here from Kevin Greenspon's Bridgetown label. The first is by R. Sawyer formerly Timeload Fowl and the second by Greenspon himself.
Timeload Fowl contributed a great side to the Gilgongo LP he split with James Fella and Sawyer delivers more good if also more mellow stuff here. Kicking things off with "Constricting Realities I," which amounts to a single soothing drone for most of its duration. Sawyer layers a few more light drones, adding some harmonic divergences but maintaining a focused, subtle touch throughout. "Amaryllis" is similar but hints at a little chaos brewing inside as opposed to the arctic inner calm of the first piece. The piece is more complex than it seems at first glance, due again to Sawyer's extremely subtle hand. Things open up a little near the end before merging into "Constricting Realities II." This piece is much more expansive than the first "Constricting Realities" with slight, rhythmic pulses gliding underneath. The title-track "I Burn" immediately introduces the listener to a noisier palette. It's certainly not noisy in the way his work on the aforementioned Gilgongo LP was but there's a constant, if distant, rumble for the smooth guitar tones to contend with. After a few minutes everything breaks up save for a recording of children playing and a smidge of static. From there Sawyer commences a chilly slowburn of melodic guitar swells. "Blood Bright Star" features the most tension anywhere else on the disc, making for the best listening as well. Fuzzy guitars jet along in a vacuum, hi-pitched notes provide flickers of melody along with percussive elements. The track gives itself a makeover halfway through into a rather beautiful glistening, melodic chorus. Overall, the disc is a well-played hand of guitar atmospherics.
With Corridor, Mr. Greenspon delivers a disc of his brand of "actual songs not improvs" using guitar, electronics, tapes and emphatically no synths. "Once by Chance," the opener, is literally just a taster, introducing many elements without developing them. "Sinking" features a revolving set of distorted, trembling notes that bleed more and more as the clock ticks. Augmented by breaking waves, the guitar eventually tapers and dissolves into them. "Drift Away" comes next, which is an interesting placement as the guitar here seems to be emulating the crashing waves that came before. Greenspon even manages to work in a mellow guitar lead amidst the mist. "Alarming Return" is just that, loud, scraping cassette shards which shatter the placid rays of guitar. After the final crash, the piece drifts off on a multi-tracked melody. "Eyes Forward Still" features more conventional guitar playing as Greenspon spins a lovely blue-grey guitar melody in, what may be, the finest piece on the record. "Unbearable Keepsake" seals up the record with speedy guitar playing submerged in a serious bog of noise and feedback. The track devolves into chunky noise before doin' a 180 into more relaxed guitar swells. A nifty little disc when you add it up
Both are still in print, the Sawyer disc is in it's first edition of 50 and Greenspon's disc is in a second edition of 50 after an initial run of 75 (and 100 copies of a cassette version on Nautical Leftist Antiques) so they are each available for you to gulp down. Greenspon has been particularly busy as of late, touring and dropping releases left and right so you may want to lend an ear in that direction as well.

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