Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Brian Grainger – Eight Thousander

Alan Weisman’s recent book The World Without Us speculates on the Earth’s post-human development. Were it not a contradiction of sorts, Brian Grainger’s desolate guitar improvisations would provide an ideal soundtrack for this vision. His approach culls aspects of Stars of the Lid’s oceanic wash, Flying Saucer Attack’s grainy panorama and especially Roy Montgomery’s talent for describing space through sound. The opening trio of pieces captures a mood of twilight weariness; the guitar’s muted figures nested in the amp’s unmasked electric hiss. “Above the Sky” breaks free of the pregnant drone into a tremolo wide enough to bend at the edges. The only slight misstep comes on “Lost in the Woods,” a track that fetishizes the delay and creates a miasma of overlapping notes that disrupts the albums overall arc. Grainger’s unvarnished, no overdub strategy gives the work a vital feel despite its overall coolness and restraint.


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