by Scott Tuma


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Beginning with the found-sound hiss and music box strangeness of "San Luis Freeze," Dandelion finds Scott Tuma's always engaging, musically unique voice continuing to explore unexpected possibilities beyond the conclusion of Souled American's existence into a now well-established -- and equally mesmerizing -- solo career. The sense of deep, unusual roots emerging out of forgotten corners continues here, murkier and designed around instrumentals instead of songs as such, with a sense of it somehow being a lost time of a century past viewed through haze. It's audible, whether it's the piano parts swirling through mechanistic shudders and reverb on "Red Roses for Me" shifting into an equally elegant banjo performance, then what could be a distant squeezebox and singalong at a faraway train station; or in the title and delicate overlay of twang and plucking on "True History," feeling like a multi-guitar lament for something that never quite was. Other moments echo more modern expectations of drone experiments, like the slow grinds of "Again and Again" achieving a meditative calm, and the slow rhythmic feedback howls and tones of "Free Dirt" -- almost sounding like Steve Roach's darkest, heaviest moments in his recent work -- before more open-ended, scarring performances shift the reference points to something like the Dead C. "Hope Jones (Jason's Song)" is at once one of the simpler and more shocking songs -- the slow acoustic guitar performance and gentle echo are accompanied at points by a barely discernible, distant voice, like a ghostly performance. "Oakum" is even more suggestive given its title: the delicate, hammering melody seems a world away from the brutish work prisoners did with the material in 19th century institutions as part of their punishment. The CD version continues the cryptic beauty of the core album, thanks to the lengthy "Intermission" (a mock broadcast, something from an alternate Soviet evangelical tradition, perhaps?), and the more straightforward acoustic guitar pieces entitled "Smallpipes."

Product Details

Release Date: 12/07/2010
Label: Digitalis
UPC: 5060165484973
catalogNumber: 61

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