Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Alexander Tucker – Portal

Wherever the titular doorway leads it’s clear that Alexander Tucker has access to something larger and stranger than a guitar with looper effects. On 2006’s Furrowed Brow he pushed at the boundaries of acoustic folk and blues, importing contemporary drone and doom experiments. But here he re-focuses that slightly disparate energy back into a harder shell of song. Openers “Poltergeists Grazing” and “Veins to the Sky” illustrate Tucker’s signature method of building elaborate structures out of layered loops, making for an ornate recasting of the one-chord blues tradition. They also showcase his increased vocal presence, albeit rendered ghostly by double tracking. The album eventually crosses streams, with “Energy for Dead Plants” turbine engine of bowed strings and eddying tones, backed by “Another World” and its oppositely stark acoustic guitar and vocal. Whether Tucker is a pan-dimensional being sent here from an alternate England where The Incredible String Band featured Tony Conrad on violin, or if he merely has visions of such a place, his continuous beaming from there is a welcome sound.


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