7D Media 2015
Water, water every where: a liquid touch from a guitar supremo.
Great experimentalist that he is, Trey Gunn never breaks away from a natural timbre, and what can be more natural than lapping of water, a soundscape the artist is capturing here. The first part of tetralogy, it’s a work of subtle shade as suggests opener “Not Dark Yet,” a fluid Dylan cover laid down by Gunn for the “Every Beautiful Thing” OST, voiced by Dylan Nichole Bandy and given a prison blues hue – cause blue is so suitable a color for the album’s theme. But as tectonic bottom end introduces an ocean bed to the anxious kind of serenity, a four-part improvisation based on Peter Garbiel’s “Here Comes The Flood” – recorded live on different stages in 2014 and scattered among studio tracks now – gradually turns sparseness into menace.
Crystalline yet not cold, the notes hang, intertwined, before floating up and fading into an unutterable wonder of whale proportions and, in “Flood IV”, a melodic swirl, which hits you mercilessly, if gentle. Against them, the low-tone ebb of “Three Days” is almost ear-piercing and, thus, chasing away any subliminal threat; it’s all on display, especially in “The Beautiful Umbrella” that may blow a seasick listener out of his depth, although the tentative percussion under “The Seven Who Were Saved” provides an arresting tension to this surface. “Flood II” resolves it in a CRIMSON manner with ghosts of “Red Rain” and “Red” lurking in the shadows, whereas “The Final Wave” crackles in a slow-motion dance, and “The First Return” loops the drift back to the vocal start for a captivating siren song wrapped in rich, celestial six-string texture.
Here’s the titular uplift – joie de vivre and a foreboding, the very realization of our existence. A truly moving experience.