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Soundohm

Various

Offstrings: Inventions for guitar

Label: COMPLACENCY

Format:

Genre: Folk

Out of stock

"Around the turn of the century there seemed to be a wave of guitarists versed in experimental and electronic musics who sought out ways of drawing new sounds from their instrument of choice; the likes of Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Keith Fullerton Whitman (on his still-superb Playthroughs album), Sebastien Roux and Christopher Willits were among the most notable artists in this movement, and now, at the start of a new decade, this excellent album strives to highlight the work of five emerging guitarists from Chicago with similar designs on re-imagining the guitar's timbral landscape.  Travis Bird & Daniel Burke contribute the first two tracks on the album, arriving with a brand of subtly constructed music that owes something to the lulling melancholy of Loren Connors.  The duo pluck a mournful, electrified path through opener 'Breaking The Ice Before Winter Sets In' and subsequently drift through a freetime soundscape of volume-swelling chords and frayed, jangling frequencies on 'Dark Matter'.  Venturing in a more abstract direction, Michael Vallera's 'Arm Of The Sun' reshapes the guitar's tonal range into something more akin to an analogue synthesizer, pulsing through tidal drone motions.  Here, the guitar doesn't actually sound like anyone's actually playing it.  There's no expression in the performance as such; instead the instrument is used as a tone generator, incrementally building up to an incredible, intense crescendo.  David Daniell's contribution, meanwhile, is just utterly breathtaking. Daniell has recently been found touting his wares in collaboration with Christian Fennesz, and on his piece here, 'Strobe', an underlying tremolo figure and organ-like sustaining tones provide a dramatic background context for swathes of stirring, soundtrack-ready six-string manoeuvres.  The poise and magnitude of all this seems to reach far beyond the normal parameters of purely guitar-generated music, yet your attention isn't particularly drawn to the presence of post-production or processing.  Daniell's definitely one to keep tabs on.  Mark Shippy closes the album wielding his steel-strung acoustic on 'x-Involucrant-x', which to a certain degree brings to mind John Fahey's Table Of The Elements-era output.  On a purely harmonic level, Shippy's piece might be the most involving of the bunch, taking you through dissonant cascades of ascending/descending runs that rumble and reverberate between the speakers in a commanding fashion, to some degree translating the spirit of bluegrass into a new, modernist language.  Limited to 500 copies on 180 gram coloured vinyl (100 white vinyl, 100 translucent blue, 100 clear, 100 clear & translucent blue, 100 white & translucent blue), complete with digital download coupon, redeemable directly from the label. Very highly recommended." (Boomkat)

Details
Cat. number: CR201001
Year: 2010

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