Reviews and pictures from Sietse's record collection
Sometimes you get these collaborations between several people which they call super groups, and for sure that is something that can be said about Portraits which is the collaboration between (the whole list) Jefre Cantu-Ledesma (Tarentel ao.) Evan Caminiti (Barn Owl / Higuma), Jon Porras (Barn Owl) Gregg Kowalsky (Date Palms), Marielle Jacobsons (Darwinsbitch / Date Palms), Lisa McGhee (Higuma), Maxwell August Croy (EN), Steven Dye, Tony Cross (Tarentel) and Michael Elrod (The Alps, Date Palms and Barn Owl) and others. If you know one of these names you probably know all and you know what to expect, totaly awesomeness.
And that the self-titled album Portraits is awesomeness of another kind is something that is for sure. It isn’t because it is all hectic and rough rock & roll or something other noisy stuff, nope it is the total opposite of that. This is pure bliss, meditative droning. The three pieces on this LP are the sum of this collaboration, though if I should still mention one artist that comes closest to this music it is the solo work of Gregg Kowalsky with what he did on his Tape Chants albums, but even that isn’t really true.
The first piece called D, probably played in D is one of layered droning sounds like bowed guitars, shruti boxes, singing bowls and much more. It slowly meanders from its begin to its end creating a meditative state. It mixes the Indian tradition of music well with western ideas of minimalism.
With its almost 22 it is a great way to ease the mind and help with some sleeping.
On the flip side we find two pieces, the first called Sa which is a mantra of the whole group singing the word Sa. The singing is in such a way that voices get layered to again create drones. The mood is again very meditative and soothing. It really reminds me of Catherin Christer Hennix and the Chora(s)son Time-Court Mirage, tough in this case only vocal.
It is a lovely piece, which I could listen to endlessly.
The last piece is called Gong and as the name suggest this piece is build up from gong sounds which seem to get processed. It is a bit heavier on the ears than the previous two songs, but nonetheless quite amazing how it works on the senses. It reminds me a lot of Tibetan music, while again it is also rooted very well in modern Western music.
It is safe to say this big group is indeed a super group, and it is also safe to say they really live up that name. You could question if such a group is always the sum of all musicians. I guess in most cases it doesn’t but for this group for me it really does. I heard a lot of the separate works by the different groups and solo projects but this stands out as their best work for sure. Hopefully this wasn’t a one time offering.
If you didn’t yet, for sure something to check out.
Listen to an edit of D on Soundcloud:
Portraits – Portraits is limited to 500 copies and is directly available from Important Records