WHAT THE COVER LOOKS LIKE:
WHAT THE RELEASE NOTES SAY:
Arriving 10 inconceivable, cloistered months after his sylvan Everlasting Spring LP landed, Paraclete Tongue is the third in solo guitarist Matt LaJoie's planned series of five records focused on the energy of a particular element - this time radiating inspiration from the fire element in the form of sunlight, candlelit altars, and the shimmering dance of far-off star systems. Shifting from the riverbed acoustic tones of his previous water-themed disc, Paraclete Tongue’s flame of inspiration is channeled entirely through an electric six-string, with chiming harmonics and warm, growling hums of analog fuzz coloring the edges of four extended loop-based improvisations that aim to expand the frontier of 21st century guitar soli.
Going into the recording of his third LP, LaJoie's intent was to record two sidelong pieces blending a minimal amount of composition with vast spaces for improvisation. The refrain and structure of "Flame of Incarnation" came first; a musical representation of the accumulation of consciousness and dissolution of karma across lifetimes, the song begins tentatively in abstract clouds of temple bell reverberations before blooming into its main theme. As the brief melody expands into ever-deepening exploratory passages, LaJoie continues to compose on the fly by utilizing the live looping function of the DL4 pedal, forging forward until the road ends and collapses back into the original theme. Each subsequent run through the cycle yields new rewards, the piece breaking down and reforming in an evolutionary way, growing ever more complex and joyful toward its homecoming conclusion.
"Flame of Incarnation" is stoked in its final seconds by the introduction of a warm blanket of analog fuzz—a first for LaJoie's solo guitar albums—courtesy of the custom Anderson Sound Systems Green Freaker pedal. Thus lit, the fuzz adds an ember’s cast to the spontaneously arising “Sunrise on Magic Meadow” and “Kandelbright Grotto”, the former a patient-then-envigorated bask in morning rays, while the latter imagines the holy glow of a sacred altar space deep inside an underwater cave. Both stretch the tonal and textural range of the Fender Mustang to resemble synthesizers and bass guitar, a sound harkening back to the A-side of debut LP The Center and The Fringe (a record representing the etheric element) while still striving into bold new terrain. In contrast to these two totally improvised pieces, lead single “Kuchina’s Dance” is more premeditatively composed than anything released on LaJoie’s prior LPs, looping a simple melodic figure with a soft touch, and gradually filling in the spaces as the music’s gentle sway leads into evermore emotive and ecstatic whirls. Somewhere between folk, classical, and new age lies the subgenre brilliantly coined “cosmic pastoral” by guitarist William Tyler; “Kuchina’s Dance” is wonderfully at home in that field, offering meditation, movement, and release in a single gesture.
Closing the door on 2020 and opening the curtains on a new year’s opportunities for liberation and healing, the bottled solar warmth within Paraclete Tongue’s utterances are being offered during some of our coldest, darkest days, in remembrance of the light ever shining just beyond our realm of perception.
Matt LaJoie: Fender Mustang, Green Freaker, DL4, Holy Grail
Performed live with no overdubs; recorded, mixed, and mastered by ML. Vinyl mastering and lacquer cut by Carl Saff. Cover painting by ML.
Special thanks to Sam at Anderson Sound Systems for the custom Green Freaker analog fuzz pedal used on these recordings.
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