December 20, 2011

getting foxed

Nice new review of LC from foxy digitalis

"I recently scored a copy of the brand new LP from Zak Boerger’s solo project, These Wonderful Evils.   My previous exposure was through his “Cerro Rico” tape, a wonderfully compelling and addictive C30 that combined field recordings and guitar work into a hypnotically woven sound collage. On this new LP (a split release from Sparrows & Wires/Horror Bag Recordings), Boerger takes a different approach, offering his solo electric guitar mostly unadorned and recorded live.  It’s an interesting gambit, in a time when so many recordings opt for murky aesthetics and hidden layers of subtlety.  Instead, Boerger lays everything on the line in direct fashion, and the result is both immediate and personal. Two of the three include some skeletal drum machine rhythms and work well within the context of the tunes, but it’s really the guitar playing that shines here.  Boerger emerges as a confident and thoughtful player, with a consistently gorgeous tone on display.  Effects are used sparingly, with an echoing overdriven sound being the predominant style, and waves of tremolo providing occasional adornment.  Musically, this is a melodic, direct and straightforward record.  Rhythms are laid out, looped, and layered together (though in sparing ways).  Moments of minor key dissonance do come through, but Boerger almost always provides resolution to his ideas, and there’s a lovely chiming consonance that characterizes all three tracks.  His playing draws mostly from folk and blues paradigms, with open tunings, finger picking, and resonant drones paving the way for his compositions to deliver the goods.  And deliver they do.   The careful, patient playing suggests Tom Carter and Marc Orleans in their gentler, less shredful moments.  In lesser hands, the drum machine (an old groovebox?) would be a hindrance here, but Boerger uses it well, realizing that it is simply another element pulling the listener towards a compelling finish.  Other influences are worn on the sleeve (Jansch, Fahey, Graham, etc), but aren’t allowed to get in the way of his own vision.  The modesty of approach and narrow focus becomes this record’s greatest strengths.  And when the full-on fuzz settings do enter the picture, particularly in the noisiest track, “900S”, Boerger lets loose with a perfectly timed head nod to the ecstatic excesses of his forebears, but never lets the noise overwhelm the journey.  It shows an impressive range of playing, from gentle drones to spacious slow-picked patterns all the way through to to darker noisy raveup moments." --Eric Hardiman

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