Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sky Juice - Empty Telepathy: Early Trancemissions 2000-2005 (Maim & Disfigure CD-R)

Here's another one from that batch of items I snagged from Zac Davis. This one is a solo situation, with Zac playing guitar and overdubbing himself. Apparently a lot of this was actually drawn from old tapes and then reworked. Clocking in at twelve tracks and over forty minutes, it's one of the more unified Maim & Disfigure releases I've heard, feeling quite a lot like a full length album rather than a series of recordings. The feel is way more mellow here too, opting for a more weirdo folksy explorative side.

The first track sounds like Loren Connors jamming with Eugene Chadbourne in some crystal palace--the reverb is layed on nice and thick for a ringing warmth that too many people don't know Zac can pull off. It's almost raga-esque in places, droning along as Zac plucks away at the strings in a melody that's quite effective before breaking it back down into more scraping, languid territory.

Track two switches gears a bit to present a folkier take on Zac's chuggingly hypnotic phrasing. Almost like Fahey, only way more stoned. Eventually the whole thing just drops off for a weird single string bass thing before strumming of sorts eventually comes back. It's all very visceral and heartfelt, and you can tell there's some real playing under there for sure--Zac style of course. The guy has a signature style to be sure, it just manifests itself in a ton of different playing styles. When the whole folksy thing is shunned by moments of heavy chordal riffage, you can't help but feel like following him along in some stream-of-conscious guitar course (intended for players of all levels of course).

Track four is another killer, opening with a sound not far afield from someone like Junior Kimbrough. It's a droney and full take on bluesy houserocking, only again, Zac manages to not sound like that at all. Like any real deal musician Zac can't help but sound like anyone but himself it seems, and he manages to infuse everything with his own brand of blatant riffology as well as a steady internal pulse and plenty of odd disjointed asides. Nice thing about this stuff too is that while it is clear that Zac is playing over previously recorded things here, it never sounds too robotic. Rather than these being a constraint, it simply sounds like two or three Zac's jamming live together. Sick deal if you ask me.

Other highlights include track six, which is all free play, scraping the strings, bending the shit out of them, etc. to create some weird stuck-in-your-head madness. Track seven even has some drums, again from Zac (dude can play), in a nice stop-start anthemic ode to unwieldery. After track eight, the most unapologetically dirty rock riff on the record, the next four tracks basically mellow the album down to a cose, sometimes in thirty second increments and sometimes in the form of five minute improvisatory excursions of droney strumming. The last track is all wavering nausea as strum after strum gets bent towards the skies before taking off into the sun. Stoned as hell, and one of the most beautiful things I've heard from him. Definitely a different side of Zac's output that too few people are aware of.

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