This is music created in a world that may no longer exist. Composed and recorded before the calamity, it may be prescient of the new journey we have all now embarked on, carrying forth a set of spells as guiding principles for lands unknown.
Spell Solved for X is a suite that tells the story of a spellbound journey to the underworld and back. The suite pivots on “Ariadne’s Autopsy (of the Labyrinth)” situated at the center – its unwoven strands open doors backward and forward into the journey’s path, making and breaking spells to no avail.
Some tunes conjure sinister soundscapes; others burst with love and warmth. Some groove toward a saturation point; others wander enigmatically to no end. All carry Count G’s compositional signature: collage and improvisation, repetition and interruption, groove and ambience. One notices again the love for horns and wind instruments, distorted guitars, mallet intricacies, strange voice noises, and unexpected turns.
About a fourth of the pieces are live improvisations, either rendered whole or excerpted from the mysterious Interplanetarium sessions and rewoven with studio material. Improvisation remains key to Count G’s method, whether this involves electronic manipulations of sounds found or created, use of homemade noise and random lo-fi recordings, or, on this occasion, the resurgence of the old clarinet.
For a number of tunes, Count G sought inspiration in the capable hands of Masking Tapeworm and his band, even if this meant transatlantic transactions in the dark. It’s certain that their collaboration will extend to the new MT album, expected later in the summer if everyone survives.
As always, the music was recorded and mixed by Count G at The Boys Room in Manhattan, before the pandemic calamity struck, except for MT’s contributions and two other instances:
“A Day in Kartarpur” was recorded in demo mode in Lahore, Pakistan, in February 2019. The dirty guitars and breathy horn sounds are electronic manipulations of field recordings from Lahore’s open market.
“Peregrinations” is based on a digitally restored piano improvisation initially recorded on East Rustic Rd. in Santa Monica back in 1982, which was discovered in the cassette tapes that yielded the second Dudes On Drugs record Cabaret Rustique.
Coming in at 70-plus minutes of music, this is a long and involved journey into labyrinths of sound where listening at blistering loud volume or as background ambience is equally rewarding.
Settle in and watch out for the spells!