Saturday, November 20, 2010

Giancarlo Bracchi - Silicon Immortality [Circuit Torçat]

Silicon Immortality is a nice half-hour tape by NY synth artist Giancarlo Bracchi, released on Barcelona sound artist Juan Matos Capote's excellent Circuit Torçat label.
The tape finds Bracchi creating two side-long pieces with a Roland Juno-6 synthesizer and a theremin. The first side features smooth circular tones, almost like playing wine glasses, which Bracchi jumpstarts a delayed synth melody over the top of. Bracchi layers further, adding a synthetic clicking/ringing tone as well as plenty of theremin and synth swoops. The piece gets better as the rhythmic synth figure gets pushed back a touch and the theremin's warbling coos and synth manipulations take over. It's a total jam, the initial figure is explored and improvised on through the entire piece. Around halfway though, Bracchi introduces a really nice melody. It only manages to peek through at certain points but man, I love it. The melody is able to shine through later though Bracchi navigates his Juno into rougher territory whipping up some rumbling noise. In a surprising move, everything drops out except that initial synth figure. Bracchi goes wild on either his Juno or theremin, I can't quite tell, making for a clusterfuck of delayed tones. The melody that I love so much does return to send the track off in its final seconds. Bracchi knows when he has a good thing.
The second side kicks off with an immediately more ethereal vibe. There's heavy delay creating a cascading melody that continues before being phased out for a more skeletal, echoing arpeggio. It's actually pretty groovy, Bracchi moves heavily filtered tones through a jaunty set of delay pedals making for a surprisingly buoyant riff. Bracchi gradually adds subtle layers in the final minutes, slowly expanding the simple but elegant piece. He still squeezes a minor Juno freakout in the final minutes, unwilling to go down completely like a spoonful of sugar. At the end of the piece he seems ready to go all over again, with a melody standing tall by its lonesome.
Overall, this is a cool tape, definitely worth a look from all the synth heads out there. I probably prefer the first side as it reminds me a bit of synthesizer film scores from the 70s and 80s. But I love to hear all analog set-ups and you know I'm always psyched to hear the underused theremin back in action!
Limited to 50, with great artwork and matching color case per Circuit Torçat's typically classy aesthetic. Check it out and pick up the other killer Torçat tapes while yr at it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Black Eagle Child - "Born Underwater" b/w "The Arquebus" [Avant Archive]/Knit Prism - Growing [Avant Archive]

Avant Archive is a brand new label, only a few releases old, run by Mr. Black Eagle Child himself, Michael Jantz. These two tapes by Black Eagle Child and Knit Prism are catalog numbers AA001 and AA002, respectively.
First of all, it's cool Avant Archive has emerged with a fully formed aesthetic, a rigid, rectangular format with matching white cases. This Black Eagle Child cassette features material dating back to 2008. Jantz makes a vague note in the label's description that these recordings come before BEC developed its "compositional process." I'm not really familiar with Black Eagle Child's ouvre, so I can't comment on any differences to later work, but I can say I dig this tape.
Side A, "Born Underwater," starts out with a wonky synth whose slow skronk is reduced to a crackle upon the entrance of keyboard ether and distant field recordings. Further down the road Jantz brings in a music-box-styled melody making for a very odd but definitely delectable arrangement of noises. They flitter along as a looming, fuzzy bass synth drops an authoritative tone. Near the end Jantz digs up a keyboard melody augmented by rubbery synth swoops. From there though, Jantz switchs things up putting all tones into a consonant line with a flood of atmospheric, though not completely soft, drones. Overall, what I love about the piece is the perplexing contradiction it presents; how is it so mellow, so tranquil and so prickly and incongruous?
As the title notes, "Born Underwater" is backed with "The Arquebus" which also starts out just as weird, probably weirder, with a woozy, percussive, pitch-shifted and cut-up guitar. There's some very subtle synth resting in the background but Jantz really pushes the wacky guitar mangling to the forefront. You feel the floor slowly begin to give way as a deep deep deep bass undertow lies just below the surface slowly swollerin' you up. Other than a touch of keyboard/guitar here or there, (always left just outside the frame) that's the bulk of the piece. The side covers less ground than the first but it gets higher points in the sustained mood category. Definitely some focused, furrowed brow, what-is-going-on business here. I am down for sure.
This is the first I've heard of Knit Prism, a project of Mike Pouw who runs the stellar House of Sun label. This tape pulls mellow guitar moves over two sides in under a half hour. The first side "Crooked Drifts" is a dizzy wanderer. Multiple layers of guitar slowly jangle over one another which make for a steady stream of blissful confusion. The strings are all a smoke screen letting a few strong notes harmonically punch through. Some birds cackle at one point but before long we move into the side's second part, a bassier drone fills the spectrum with a few melodic touches trying to squeeze their way in. The fidelity is so smudgy it's hard to tell what's going on but the piece gets nicer and more melodic as it goes on. It gets really nice. There are some lovely melodies which are so far removed yet their essence shines through and colors the thick drones in a wonderful manner.
The flip side is titled "Sentimental Elevations" is more lo-fi guitar ruminations with birds creaking in the background. Before long the tape rattles and warbles and the piece shifts into clearer, intertwining guitar melodies. The melodies grow and grow interlocking and joining up with each other as birdcalls snake through the gaps. The confidence of that section soon disappears into a quieter melody matched up against what sounds like flowing water. Weird rumbles pop up intermittenly, never allowing you to get too comfortable with the gently humming strings.
Avant Archive doesn't do limited editions which is pretty cool, that said though, these are both in stock with a few other tapes. It looks to be a sweet label in the making, check it out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Xiphiidae - Pisces Muse [Stunned]

Now I've only heard a small chunk of Jeff Astin's considerable output as Xiphiidae but damn if I don't feel like Pisces Muse is the best thing he's ever done, as Xiphiidae or with any other project for that matter.
To try to communicate the sound of the tape to you the only "sounds-like" card I can really play is that it's somewhat similar to Spencer Clark's stuff as Monopoly Child or Black Joker. The tape however is so much more dense, dynamic and environmental. Clark has done some great work under those guises but you're also locked in a single frame of mind when you listen to those records. Astin's work here is exceedingly dimensional; it puts you in a trance, it puts you in a zone but it also puts you in a whole new mental locale. You get whisked around in an abstract, psycho-geographical travel tape. Leaves crunch, water drips, occasionally people murmur but simultaneously and continuously Astin is rocking your body with relentlessly catchy, organic micro-beats. I don't know for sure what Astin had at his disposal here, but it sounds like at least a hand drum, tapes, a thumb piano and keyboard too.
Coming to life in mucky tape warble, the jams rolls on a 1-2-3-4 drumbeat against a heavy forest of thunder and trail life. Changing up to a speedy jaunt of elliptical loops, it's a race between the trickling creek, jittery thumb piano and thump-thump-thumping hand drum. And the jam pumps along teeming with life. It's particularly interesting at the piece's end when Astin gradually peels back the layers revealing the pulsing tendons underneath.
The next one slows up the tempo a tad, giving the listener a deeper look into the sinewy tendrils of the beat. The editing and pacing here are both fantastic. There's a handful of pieces across the forty-ish minute runtime, but within a "piece" Astin will often change things up, for instance introducing outside recordings of garbled speech and whatnot then seamlessly re-mold the beat for the new environment. I actually really dig the last set of rhythms on Side A as they're much more direct, offsetting the effusive, abstract sound collage.
Most of the beats move at a swift clip, remaining chill but consciously very active. Though the tape seems to be about an effortless flow Astin, doesn't mind jarring you back into reality with a bit of tape abuse at the end of the first side.
The next side seems to raise the bar even more. A strange, repeated groan and burbling, hyperactive percussion lead off the piece making for what is possibly the most tangled area in the tape. From that extra-jittery, jangled piece, Astin moves into a beat constructed from tape mulch and bird calls, while a repeating keyboard swell lulls and locks you into a serious hypno-coma. A hand drum enters gradually at some point, but only to lend a helping hand not to take over. It drops out soon and the piece subsists on the single keyboard motif until a violent bit of tape warble puts it down. I'd say it's one of the finest compositions here, rather than just grooving on the beat (which I'm perfectly fine with) there's more of an ebb and flow here. Sounds show up and disappear and the piece evolves with each new change. Later, the drum nearly takes a backseat to the aquatic splashes and drops, as the keyboard hums a relentless two-note tune. Halfway through Astin flips the script, imploding the beat a little, leaving a frantic stammering drum and a mellow, strung-out keyboard mussed with static tape blurs. The final piece is way shorter than the others but still very good despite it's comparative brevity. Astin seems to have trouble getting his Walkman working as the piece begins with whirs attempting to get the piece rolling. After a few moments, it takes off on its own, constituting the most laidback piece of the tape culminating in keyboarded windchimes.
It seems like about every month or so Stunned has been dropping something essential this year. Here's your next installment. Grab this.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sekstett - Gjerstad, Skaset, Grenager, Tatjord, Molstad, Moe [Conrad Sound]/Bay/Oslo Mirror Trio - Bay/Oslo Mirror Trio [Conrad Sound]

A pair of great jazz/ improv CDs here from Norwegian label Conrad Sound.
Sekstett is just that. It features six players on clarinet, guitar, cello, double bass, as well as french horn and tuba! The first piece "6.1" is the shortest at 5 minutes and its a very nice, spacious piece. There isn't a consistent melody throughout but despite the occasional passage that lets a single instrument ruminate, it's overall fairly mellow and melodic due to the bassist's work. As the piece travels the sextet moves into stranger, more dissonant territory. The upright bass sits in as a percussionist and the cellist saws away like a violinist high up on the fingerboard. The following piece "6.2" picks up in bizarre territory. It's hard to describe the frightening things going on in the headphones now, the wind instruments literally sound like wind whistling through the forest. The cello sounds like it's being rubbed with sand paper and the bass and possibly guitar too are producing guttural animal-like groans. It's not much more comforting when the six join together for a droning passage. The clarinetist improvises a nice little melody which is a bit of a surprise but before long it's back to the creep and crackle. You think the piece is winding down but it's a fake out. The group gets jittery and rhythmic in the last four minutes or so, balancing slaps, scratches, squeaks and bleats. I love how tactile and dynamic the record sounds; it has this strange ambiance, a light natural reverb to the instruments lending an amazingly tactile feel to the record. I wonder what kind of space this was recorded in, as it was the perfect choice for this heady exercise in friction. "6.3" lets the wind instruments loose. They don't get particularly wild but the rumbling string section permits them to wax melodic over top rather than having to swallow their notes like in other tracks. The tuba provides an ominous, bowel-curdling dirge taking the piece in an oddly dark and gelatinous direction. "6.4" has a great opening, with pitter-pattering muted guitar and cello, the bass and tuba back the track with slow, subterranean swells. The other wind instruments get in on it too making for a very tense push/pull between random sputtering clacks and a slow slow slow motion throb. With around 4 minutes to go, one of the wind instruments breaks everything up with a piercing cry and it's a cautious comeback as the group gradually reconvenes. When they do, they somehow create bizarre UFO transmission/cooing gremlin textures. This is probably the most out there track, and it might be the best because of it. The final piece "6.5" features heavy bowing from the bass which the other members rally around. The result is seasick slo-mo jazz with various solos happening at once while the arrangement sways queasily forward. It's easily the most active track here as all players seem to be getting agitated and jumpy, spurting forth ideas with a variety approaches. All in all though, the group impressively keeps everything together, united in their dissonance. The breakdown with 3 minutes to go, the first point that introduces some semblance of structure, is excellent with a repeated string pluck and wary drones surrounding it. I don't know anything about these players so I don't know how long they've have been at this game but there's a pretty stunning maturity here paired with a hunger for the strange and challenging. No one overplays; there's an incredible, nearly telepathic, chemistry present here which is staggering considering there's six individual minds and 12 sets of hands at work here.
Both artists are sextets but the Bay/Oslo Mirror Trio try to trick you. The explanation behind the name is that three members Guro Skumsenes Moe, Havard Skaset and Kyrre Laastad (on double bass, guitar and drums respectively) hail from Oslo. The other three Tony Dryer, Ava Mendoza and Jacob Felix Heule (Ettrick) also on double bass, guitar and drums, hail from the bay area in California. So you got the Bay/Oslo thing, and since they are two trios with mirrored instrumentation they decided to put it all together as Bay/Oslo Mirror Trio.
"V1" is the first of 11 tracks, beginning with a lot of silence and only an occasional thump of bass or drums, there's some swelling e-bowed guitars later before it comes to a close. The latter continues in the second piece "H1" but it's the basses that really add the most dimension here. The glistening cymbals and gently buzzing guitars highlight the see-sawing grey clouds of the uprights. "V2" switches things up moving into certified skronk territory. I can't decide whether I like the Trio better in their controlled mode or when they throw caution to the wind and let loose completely as they do here. Lots of squiggly lines, coming mainly from the guitars, but the rhythm section(s) do a great job navigating between freak out and a keeping of the beat. "V3" continues to groove in that direction. The basses are rubbed raw over lightly jangling drum kits and wildly pitch-manipulated guitar smears. "H2" is all rattle, rustle and crackle quietly drifting by. "H3" drags by rather than drifts. I mean that literally, it sounds like the sextet is dragging tin cans, bicycles and other junk down the street. A continuous 4 minute scrape. "V/H1" (VH1??) is a little more in line with the kind of stuff on the Sekstett disc, an atmospheric, slowly clattering creep-jazz affair indulging in silence almost as much as sound. The next piece, "V/H2," retains the vibe but takes a more maximal approach with each player filling his/her respective space. The sextet always creates an interesting array of textures, somehow managing to reconcile strange electronic ones from the guitars with that of the drums and double basses. "V4" even dabbles a little in 50s sci-fi soundtracks which is fun to hear all mixed up in this improv/jazz blender. "H4" showcases the guitars a bit more as the two provide loopy lines over a dim, rumbling percussion section. The first 10 pieces range from 2-4 minutes, but the finale "V5" nearly hits the 10 minute mark. Starting slowly, each instrument contributes a sound here or there to an overall fractured rhythm. It's interesting hearing the Trio in a long form piece after 10 brief segments. They definitely use the space, the nervous energies often present in their shorter pieces are still present here but manifest themselves in a tenser fashion. The jitters are now a constant, mild but debilitating presence rather than violent unexpected spasms. The piece's wind down at the end is excellent as the group locks into a lurching cyclical rhythm before pulling the plug.
Both discs are great, I probably lean a little toward Sekstett because of the fascinating instrumentation and I dig that it's entirely acoustic but you really can't go wrong with either. It looks like Conrad Sound only has a handful of releases to its name so far but it definitely appears to have its finger on the pulse. I'll have to keep an eye on it. Check these out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Skin Graft/Dim Dusk Moving Gloom - Split [Rainbow Bridge]

This is a heavy duty noise tape from the curiously Care Bears-y titled, outside-of-Baltimore label Rainbow Bridge.
Skin Graft is an artist that I've heard of for a while now but this is the first time any sounds have met my ears. SG fills the side with a single piece, "You Victim." It's sort of buttoned-down harsh noise. There's a persistent static rumble, upon which Mr. or Ms. Graft drops more splashes of guttermouthed, feedback squirms. It doesn't sound pained, just unhealthy. The artist seems to really be opposing cleanliness here, this sounds like licking the dust and grime in the corners of window frames. The piece morphs into this weird sputtering, throbbing version of itself, most likely the result of one too many crossbreeding experiments. It's actually kinda groovy in about the most ungroovy manner possible. The chorus of stuck engines putter for a while before Skin Graft brings the heat and lays on the static real thick-like. That is until the signal dies a slow, Jiffypop-sounding death.
Things are even more morbid on the flipside. Dim Dusk Moving Gloom delivers the blistering "The Gnashing of Teeth" unto your lily-white ears. There's a hefty dose of noise here but it's the gliding organ tones glimmering underneath that really give me the willies. Justin Marc Lloyd, Rainbow Bridge label head and architect behind the project (whose moniker has since been changed to Pregnant Spore), delivers an excellently constructed piece here. The new agey, holy tabneracle choir thing is perfectly balanced with an insanely active harsh-free-noise bludgeoning. Lloyd doesn't just coat the piece in 12 DOD Death Metal pedals, it sound like the guys is actually ripping up speakers, crushing circuit boards and probably spilling a little virgin blood on the altar for good measure. The piece is eerie, transcendent and relentless; Lloyd gradually dials down the noise over the duration of the piece but it somehow becomes more intense as it gets more calm. This is the creepiest misty pipe organ this side of Carnival of Souls by the way. One motherfucker of a side, I'm tellin' ya.
Pretty darn solid tape overall. The second side is obviously my favorite but Skin Graft has some good stuff to offer too. It comes with disgusting artwork as you can see but don't let that deter you. Still in print in a run of 50
You can check out some of Dim Dusk Moving Gloom's side on the Bourbon County Seattle Halloween Special

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rambutan - Narrow Sky [Ghetto Naturalist Series]

Rambutan a.k.a. Eric Hardiman, proprietor of the smokin' Tape Drift label and member of upstate NY psych crews Burnt Hills and Century Plants, is a very busy man. The guy drops tapes like its nobody's business on labels across this wonderful nation and beyond, and defying all logic, the numerous releases he continually fires out are all really good. This one, released on Ghetto Naturalist Series (run in part by Nathaniel Brennan/Cruudeuces) is absolutely some of the finest work Hardiman has done.
Narrow Sky kicks off with "Half Circle," an unusually aquatic zone for Mr. Hardiman. This isn't deep sea diving mind you, more like swamp trudging. Mellow, melodic tones burble over clanging bells and a brief slice of clarinet. Maybe the swamp trudging was a bad call, the piece is probably a bit more akin to floating down a river in the middle of a jungle. Sounds exist in all directions seemingly random and insulated yet organized in a grand musical fabric. Straight up beautiful piece. "Trailing Moss" finishes out the side and changes up the tone straight away. Distorted tones pulse wildly, I think with a clarinet underneath at the heart of it maybe. I suppose it could be guitar, but it sounds more guttural and reedy. Hardiman moves through the dusklight at a decent clip despite no clear percussive pulse. The piece looms along like a dark grey cloud jetting across the sky. Towards the end, it seems like there may be a bass drum pumping along underneath. I don't know man. It's big, it's dark, it sounds great. What more do you need to know? I also dig how Hardiman is still busting out melodies through the thunderstorm. Needless to say, great side. Now onto the next.
"The Rising Path" takes the whole of the B and it's pretty damn great as well. Opening with a fantastic, deep fuzzy lick and what sounds like a little vinyl crackle. I don't know what instrument Hardiman is employing here as it sounds too deep to be clarinet, too smooth to be a guitar, too organic to be a keyboard. I don't really know. After a patch of silence and I think a bit of snare drum, the piece moves on with the arrangement thickened up significantly. It gets even darker than "Trailing Moss" and it does so pretty quickly. On the other hand though, Hardiman also throws in a few curveballs too, such a distorted tribal-ish drum pattern that appears briefly. Hardiman does a great job arranging the piece here as he manages to retain its spaciousness while filling the piece with a menagerie of sounds and odd melodies. He's really in the zone on this one. "Path" continues to gain momentum, the crashing waves of sound get bigger and louder until they roar across the stereo spectrum. Hardiman never loses a melodic base either, by the side's final minutes there's a melody coming though loud and clear even though it's buried under two tons of fuzz. Phenomenal work here.
I'm a little miffed at Ghetto Naturalist Series for only running 35 copies of this, as it deserves far more. The best Rambutan work that has met my ears. Definitely recommended if you can find it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tidal - Fractal Empire [Sacred Phrases]

Sacred Phrases is a solid, young label specializing in dreamy tones. I'm unfamiliar with a lot of its artists, such as Tidal, but man do the unknowns hold it down.
Tidal is a one J. Billingham, and with Fractal Empire he delivers over an hour of compositions for synth and tape hiss. The first of six pieces, "Taken" starts out with probably the most cynical-sounding atmospheric synth piece I've heard. Nothing about it sounds particularly light or airy despite its drifting tones. On the other hand, it doesn't sound dark or gloomy either. The tone is very dry and hard-bitten, making for a very unusual experience in musical synthesis. Billingham drops in some unintelligible radio recordings later in the piece which certainly don't do anything to lighten the mood. "The Hypnopomp" totally changes things around. Billingham lays down quite a few layers of sparkly melodies that remain far enough in the distance to be a little blurry. It's a great piece, managing to be rhythmic and completely fluid at the same time. It doesn't change a ton over its course but its a real hypnotizer. "Pearl" features slow glistening keyboard swells nestled amongst far off electrical storms. The piece features a slow come down that's quite a bit longer than the piece itself. "Silver Halide Memories" is immediately more tense with a few fairly quiet sounds grappling for control. Once in a while there's a sharp, loud jab of noise to keep you from slipping into the deep zone. It sounds like Billingham might even be playing guitar or something here as there's a badass staccato tone coming from somewhere. The piece isn't incredibly long but it feels pretty epic. Billingham does a great job slowly splintering the piece apart near the end, using more grainy speech samples to pry apart his arrangement. It sounds like there's violin in here, or maybe a synth emulating a violin, either way it really works and adds an awesome punch at the end.
Side B is split into just two pieces, the first of which is the epic "Cascade Interval." Rigid synth tones, stutter and mutter over each other making for an uneasy quilt of melodies. I dig this piece because its forever changing. It retains the same vibe throughout, but melodies and keyboard settings drop in and out over the duration of the piece. A little ways in, Billingham settles into a nice melody but even that doesn't stick around. There's a flute-like keyboard on its lonesome for a stretch of time before being augmented by thicker, jet streams of synth. The ever-evolving nature is what's key here, as Billingham is able to mine a number of different territories while remaining fluid in his navigation. Maybe the best piece of the tape, aside from "Silver Halide Memories." The second part manages to be more lush and more spacious than anything else on the tape, finding Billingham moving freely in between thick, swelling melodies and near silence. He continues to do a good job helming the track without giving any indication where it will go until its smeared conclusion. "Mist" by comparison, is pretty simple. An uncertain rumble abounds next to a cautious keyboard melody. Gradually though it becomes apparent which direction the piece is moving in. The keyboard finds its confidence and skitters along without a look back while drones grumble and groan underneath. Billingham breaks everything off momentarily for a soundbite ("He really is from another world") before bringing the music back briefly and ending on another "(Game's over. You win.")
The tape is probably too long (it could have used a sharper editing eye) but there's some real talent on display here. I think we could be hearing lots of brilliant things from this guy in the future.
The tape is still available from Sacred Phrases along some other cool tapes (I also dig the Sundrips one, which will get a review at a later date). Anyone into the whole cosmic synth thing should definitely give the label a look.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

M. Mucci - Time Lost [The Tall House]

Any regular reader here should know I really love solo guitar. A lot of times I end up praising all the wild men like Chris Cooper, Bill Nace, Brian Ruryk, Bill Orcutt etc. but you know what? I also dig guitar in the more conventional mode. This LP right here by M. Mucci is one of the best in that vein I've heard in sometime. Actually, it's one the best guitar records of any "vein" that I've heard in recent memory.
Laying out 8 tracks, 4 per side, Mucci goes to town armed without much more than his six-string. As far as I can tell, there is no improvisation here. Everything is composed and performed to a tee, and beautifully I might add.
"Small Triumphs" features robust arpeggios and a kiss of steel guitar as well. Two of Mucci's greatest strengths are his use of dynamics and pacing. He's not afraid to employ silence but he doesn't overuse it either. He uses it here to build momentum between melodies but before long the piece can just coast on its own supple energy. Mucci plays with tempo and volume particularly well, there's a moment where he appears to be winding down before thrusting forth with a new bombastic melody and stereo-panned cymbal swells to back it up. Taking around half of the side, "Small Triumphs" is a winding journey but its the following track "The View from Here" that's my absolute favorite. From the get-go its an uptempo piece with a jaunty, thumb-plucked bass part to go with the glimmering fingerpicked melodies. The piece builds and builds occasionally sliding into the minor key before unleashing a wonderful two-note progression. This is difficult to write about as all I can really say is "this is a great melody" "Mucci plays it extremely well" so all I can ask is that you just believe me. Mucci makes an unexpected divergence in the final part, with an extended breakdown of sorts into the final seconds. "The Culprits" has the faintest hint of Morricone, with sparse guitar plucks and a quiet but tense tone ringing relentlessly just within earshot. From there, Mucci is back to his hypnotic fingerpicking, cranking out a masterful old-timey minor key jammer. Despite the record being consonant overall Mucci isn't afraid to incorporate atonality occasionally here or surprisingly savage slide work either. "Apri L'occhi Pt. 1" is a much too brief and mournful little coda for side A that reminds me of glimmers of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's masterpiece F# A# ∞. Very nice and too short!
Side B opens with "Chase Down Alice St." which would be the perfect choice for a playful montage of a bandit quietly outsmarting the authorities. Rob Cappelletto contributes subtle but stomping drums, imbuing the piece with a touch more energy but without overriding the fabric Mucci weaves. There's a lovely, atmospheric slide breakdown as well. "Moments Between" changes the vibe considerably, with a sparser, darker set of arpeggios that slowly twist along to their conclusion. "A Day Like Any Other" is another favorite. Initially it sounds like a more expanded version of "Moments Between." It simmers, slowly revealing a more complex scheme in brief flickers. New melodies weave their way in amongst the old, which refuse to totally relinquish their grasp. The last couple minutes of the piece are rather beautiful, the notes continue to cycle over a light frost of melodica and Mucci stirs a handful of equally lovely melodies into one big pot. And then it hits, a 3 note phrase on the E-string cuts deep and pulls the rug out. It's a shame that Mucci fades the piece out as soon as that riff shows up, although I suppose that adds more punch to the end of the travels. "Apri L'occhi Pt. 2" is another short coda for the side, and this time the record too. I wouldn't mind hearing Mucci flesh out more works in this cloudy, drifting style.
So the guy's chops and exactness are impeccable, but importantly this record is ridiculously listenable. It really is one of those you can throw on any time. Before work, after work, before bed and any time in between.
It's a hell of a record and The Tall House (which I think might be Mucci's imprint) did a fine job dressing it up as well. Recommended.