Monday, June 22, 2009

Zak Riles – S/T

The Grails boys have a real flow going over the last couple of years. Besides the group’s two full lengths and e.p. since 2007 multi-instrumentalist Emil Amos joined Om and re-issued his Holy Sons solo album. Now guitarist Zak Riles (whom Amos also collaborated with in Dolorean) has thrown his solo album into the ring. Grails fans will recognize the Middle Eastern/Eastern European flavour of Riles’ ringing steel strings, but he kicks things off with a lovely bluesy fingerpicker called “Pacific Siren” that trisects the Blackshaw/Fahey axis. The titular siren calling faintly over the waves is a nice touch. “Confluence” is a pale horse-riding western doom number worthy of Ben Chasny’s Six Organs. But the meat of the album is Riles’ raga/drone suites that don’t exactly induce calm meditation, what with the storm warning cymbals and panicked toms. With its broad shoulders and open-skied vistas it’s a fine muscular addition to an ever-expanding canon of modern guitar works.


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