last time i saw eric arn he was heaving up great gobs of noise with primordial undermind in 13th note’s sweaty hell cellar. this time it’s just me, some headphones, and a more ruminative mood.
for what feels a relatively simple record (one man, one instrument (mainly), eight tracks, forty minutes) there’s a fair bit going on here. thematically maybe, sonically certainly.
there’s a whole mythic thing, a whole sound thing, a whole philosophic thing. maybe, just maybe, reading too much into when i’d be better listening too much into…
dunno if it’s a concept album. feels like he’s wrangling with something either way.
first listen seemed schizophrenic, like a buncha 7-inches taped together, the kindof wrasslin with disparate ideas you get when trying to form something.
then a few times round and it clicks into place. things running parallel, rather than against.
what seems disorientating, clashing, is in fact part of a jigsaw puzzle of timbres. occasionally it jars, is jagged. but like a broken bone, knitting.
so, reductionally it’s a guitar record. in a practice / practise sense.
the talk of john fahey is a rum one (though praecox (primitive?) feeling is a fucking clever joke if it is one).
suppose you could draw lines from / to / through takoma for this sort of thing. but then you could take that endoscopic approach to half the underground.
so, guitar yeah, in the similar vein(s) of courtis, connors, bailey, orcutt, i guess.
strings picked, plucked, bowed, battered, drowning, drifting. tone and texture. structurally defiant. never settling.
it’s ambient (but not, y’know, ambient). it’s folk, (but not y’know, folk). it’s noise (but not, y’know, noise)
it is manipulated, reconstructed and recontextualised.
it is, despite this, very real.
for all the referential hugeness, orphic and aztec mythology, language theory, for all the gods of earthquakes and echoes and germanic violence, it’s the zen of ‘chopping wood carrying water’ and the genghis blueserry of ‘unstruck’ that probably get to the meat and bones here. feeling like ritual companion pieces. quiet dionysian mysteries. minimalist, personal, abstract.