Gwenifer Raymond – Unusual Lights over Garth Mountain
Tompkins Sq. – 13 November 2020
Welsh-born fingerstyle guitar devotee Gwenifer Raymond‘s second album incorporates 5 tracks lower than You Never Were Much of a Dancer, over just about the identical operating time. That is vital as a result of it provides every longer piece (most are round six or seven minutes) area to breathe and Gwen time to flex and discover. Though You By no means Had been A lot of a Dancer was an completed debut, it nonetheless felt like Gwen was demonstrating her abilities and doffing her cap to the gamers who helped affect and form her sound. Unusual Lights appears like an enormous leap ahead; each observe sounds authentic and inventive. That area within the songs can be crucial to how the album performs. There’s nonetheless loads of Gwen’s punky frenetic selecting throughout the set, however it’s juxtaposed with moments of calm (touched with menace after all; it’s nonetheless a Gwenifer Raymond album). Take opener Incantation for instance; after the briefest of percussion intros, Gwen begins taking part in a low tattoo, which leads right into a slow-picked line that hits prime strings earlier than heading right into a barely extra anxious half. The bass notes run by means of the entire music, giving it construction, however the tune is complicated and intriguing, not fairly permitting us to chill out. This incantation may nonetheless take you someplace darkish.
Issues warmth up for Coal Prepare down the Line, this album’s prepare music. After one other pretty calm intro, Gwen’s fingers begin shifting and after half a minute she hits a groove that gathers tempo till the engine is hurtling. A prepare music is a staple function of solo guitar music, however this piece is much from posturing to custom; certainly, it’s as brimming with concepts and complexity as all the different tunes right here. There are moments of intense taking part in in a number of locations, however every is balanced with a powerful melody line and fascinating course. Dwelling as much as a gory title, Gwaed am Gwaed (Blood for Blood), is essentially the most hostile piece, with flat notes hidden all through that give it a tough lower texture and a sinister edge. Even the melody line that crops up at factors is unnerving. Extra forgiving is Marseilles Bunkhouse, 3am, an interesting music that shifts tempo at a number of factors, letting a way of drama and paranoia construct till a rapidly picked line with buzzing bass string bursts out on the midway level.
Gwen performs with pacing all through Unusual Lights to nice impact. Stand out piece Ruben’s Track begins with a lullaby of a line earlier than gathering momentum a la Coal Prepare down the Line after which deciding to modify right into a tightly performed upbeat melody music. A misleading little creation, it’s lots of enjoyable and reveals off Gwen’s deft taking part in and her skill to write down a cracking hook. Eulogy for Lifeless French Composer is one other multi-faceted tune, with as many moods as a bit of classical music. The ultimate title music maintains the drama of the earlier Eulogy, however whereas the taking part in is softer and fairly candy in locations, the oddness of the shifts and fidgety nature of the piece lends it the unusual character of its title. Fully fascinating, daring and sophisticated, it’s a splendid piece that neatly sums up the progressive nature of this album and Gwen’s taking part in as an entire.