Sonic Reducer: James Whiton

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Let’s face the facts, dudes. James Whiton is everywhere; he doesn’t need a goddamned record review by you know who to confirm his ascendancy—and perhaps even his hegemony—within the local music community. That plus he will always be a better player than 95 percent of the other musicians in Dirt City. The real reason I’m reviewing Perchance to Dream is because it is a joy to listen to and it is my sincere hope that giving the album some press will further encourage one of this town’s musical treasures. From the symphonic and choral allusions of opener “Invocation,” to the growly and grandiose “Somnambulance” through the dream-like rumblings of “Purgatory” and onto the unforseen and brightly redemptive end of things in closer “Sunshine,” this has got to be one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking recordings I’ve heard all dang year.

Crystal Stasis Electric Tribe (Self-Released)

Burqueña artist, DJ and frequent Alchemy performer Kate SC—also known to some in the local scene as Kate Cherry—has an electronic music project called Crystal Stasis. This term also alluringly describes the sonic goings-on breaking out of her brain as she wrestles with rhythmic urban artifacts and eternal longing. The artist’s freshly released EP of deadly and deliberately louche lounge music is entitled Electric Tribe. By turns tempestuous and pensive, this work focuses on the artist’s voice—incarnated as various shades of sultry yet still sorta twee—as she searches for an identity among cyborgs, demons and deconstructed snippets of melody. By the time listeners arrive at track 4, “Eat the Seed,” they should have fully entered her searching, rhythm-splashed world, and the final track, “Sweat” offers a sort of clattering, bumpy, ambiguous revelation predicted earlier on the opener, “Cyborg Inside.”

The Salvage Retrograde Bringer of Light (MuckPhuck Records)

Upon first listen, Bringer of Light, the new record by Burque rock and rollers The Salvage Retrograde, sure sounds like that thing called rocanrol music. There’s that emphatic voice rising up on just about every track, the emphasis on a notoriously noisy electric guitar and most importantly a brutal and relentless rhythm section carving out space the way a decent skateboard artist handles a very slow and long hill covered in bits of broken glass. I guess I’d term this release to be cock rock, mostly because it’s diggably decent, but my wife would never listen to it, claiming that it postures too brazenly toward the masculine. But whatever; it’s still a very good record, more absorbing, then say the last release by fellow Burqueño man-rock advocates SuperGiant; tunes like “The Hole I Dug,” “Age of Fire” and “Rounds” have a rousing, antic energy that triumpantly screams “Hell yeah!”

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