Powers/Rolin Duo – S/T


As bad as things get in this mixed-up, battered world of ours, at least we have music like the uplifting debut LP by the Powers/Rolin Duo to help get us through.

Jen Powers and Matthew J. Rolin (who’s own self-titled record was a major highlight of 2019) take their hammered dulcimer and 12-stringed guitar (respectively), and channel flood after flood of dazzling notes into rich soundscapes that border on the spiritual.

The record opens with “Endless Window,” which features Rolin’s precise fingerpicking and Powers’ reverb-soaked dulcimer blooming together from the smallest kernel of sound to a full radiant sonic sunrise, beaming waves of pearl-like tones in all directions. The painting on the album cover is exactly what comes to mind when you hear this blissful song.

The next track, “Caterwauls,” is centered around Powers bowing her dulcimer, creating glassy drones that pulsate calmly above a slab of low, rumbling loops of her instrument being drummed and fed through various effect pedals. The scope of this song is deep and cavernous, with echoes that ring out and seemingly never end. Listening to this song is an enormously hypnotic experience, especially with the lights off.

Closing the record is the epic “Ageless Phase.” This almost eighteen-minute piece consumes you in a cascade of light, lifting you up to a higher state of being. This is where the duo truly ascends to the plane of artists like Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry and Terry Riley. Not perhaps exactly in style nor sound, but in terms of emotion and transcendence. There is a divine beauty within and between the notes here that touches your heart on an elemental level. Words can’t describe it, but you feel moved, straight down to your very DNA. This is music of a profound nature. There’s no use in trying to define it, some art is best enjoyed being allowed to speak for itself.

If there was ever a time to have a record like this in your life, now is certainly it. Act fast, Feeding Tube Records currently only has 250 vinyl copies in stock. Be sure to pre-order yours here today.

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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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