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Cortez / Language of Light, "White Tiger Phantoms / Double Helixes Up To Heaven"

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cover image This split 12” was one of the best musical surprises I’ve had this year, turning up unexpected as it did in my mailbox at the radio station where I do a weekly program. Usually people don’t send vinyl to me at the station (though it is encouraged) just CDRs of mostly forgettable music, hence my happiness in receiving a release that some serious effort went into. When I finally got around to listening to the record I was immediately impressed: the epic drone of Scott Cortez’s side shows him reaching out into the gorgeous expanses of space with masterfully layered guitar manipulation, while Language of Light presents a more animated and alchemical journey.

 

Anticlock Records

With “White Tiger Phantoms” Scott Cortez (of Lovesliescrushing) has created a blissful dreamscape that begs to be listened to repeatedly. It’s the kind of music that I love to listen to when I need to unwind, the kind of song that unknots kinks in the neck and allows the mind to drift awhile, seemingly freed from the confines of physical space. Harmonic arcs and hums emerge gradually as more quivering lines are added to the simple hovering note, alternately descending and rising back up, that makes the songs opening. As the work progresses, like a slow sheet of ice expanding across a lake, vibrant overtones crystallize on the surface creating a feeling of idle suspension. The air in the room takes on a vibrant shine as the gossamer threads of Scott’s delicate guitar issue out of the speakers. It is representative of a type of minimalism that (deceptively) contains more than the sum of its parts. This is easily the best bit of drone work I’ve heard all year, and brings to mind the lush ambience heard on Aloof Proof’s 1994 masterpiece album “Piano Text.”

“Double Helixes Up To Heaven” on the Language of Light side is just as brilliant. It mines a different area while still being part of the same claim. Sweeping synthesizers placidly slip and glide around a gently picked guitar, spiraling like the DNA hinted at in the songs title. The combination of synth and guitar guide each other easily through the three demarcations the song is sectioned into: Prima Materia, Distillation and Sublimation, and Escape from the Retort. The first part begins with a slowly played melody as hints of distorted guitar fall in and out of focus. I can see why this part is called the Prima Materia or First Matter, because it has a very stellar quality, perfect music for stargazing or contemplating the origins of the universe. The middle continues in the same vein, but the stress is on the synthesizer’s blustering icy syncopations and dissonant rhythms. The last part provides the perfect denouement. The lilted guitar picking is again matched by a second slightly distorted guitar whose fragrant incensed breath is like warm fire. The piece ends with a flute-like loop receding into infinity. It is clearly a good thing that Rebecca Loftiss (of The Gray Field Recordings) and Frank Suchomel (Inalonelyplace) have started collaborating together.

The music on this split is wonderfully beautiful and I hope it sees a broader release than the initial run of 300 limited copies. That being said the personnel at Anticlock Records have done very well in bringing out this stunning release.

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Last Updated on Monday, 07 December 2009 01:11  


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