Monday, February 6, 2012

WIlliam Tyler - Behold the Spirit

(Tompkins Square, 2011)

If I'm going to use one word to describe William Tyler's debut solo album, Behold the Spirit, it's going to be luxurious, I think.  Or, more simply, satisfaction.  But that doesn't really get at the heart of it, the richness of it; to say, simply, that it satisfies--it undersells it.  But by luxury, also, I don't want to imply that Behold the Spirit is, in some off-handed way, disposable.  It's in-between these terms, satisfying, as does water, but luxuriously (the most luxurious thing I drink is probably orange juice (albeit, expensive orange juice)--I'm sure you can think of some fancy alcohol drink to complete this analogy). What we have here is Fahey-lineage guitar music which, despite the blandness of that reference point, is some of the best of its kind I've heard in a long time.  Tyler is shoulder-to-shoulder with James Blackshaw as far as I'm concerned--maybe even better.   What elevates Behold the Spirit is the effortlessness of the playing and the composition, so that the virtuosity isn't even a thought, only the fluidity and impact of the music.  This is what I listen to when I want to be nice to my ears (heaven knows they need niceness).

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