Matt LaJoie – Clear Channel


Clear Channel has proven once again that some of the most ethereal, heavenly guitar records being made today are coming from the realm of Matt LaJoie and Ash Brooks.

This tape, the latest of LaJoie’s many solo releases, is made up of two deeply atmospheric astral guitar soundscapes, “Voice One” and “Voice Two.” Each track sprawls effortlessly. Through the extensive use of hypnotic loops and dreamy effects, it’s easy to be lulled into a trance-like state while listening to these songs and completely lose track of time (this is one of the few instances that I can think of where tracks that exceed the 15-minute mark actually go by quickly).

“Voice One” begins with airy acoustic fingerpicking that has enough pauses and a slow enough pace to allow for each note to ring out and be savored. As the rather peaceful improvisation continues, reverb and additional delayed guitar overdubs gradually increase until it sounds as though LaJoie is performing deep within a vast cave. By the end of the track, an entire orchestra of chiming guitar loops are cycling around and around, sounding like a psychedelically distorted chorus of crickets.

“Voice Two” continues tonally where the previous song left off. The swarm of acoustic loops (playing both forwards and backwards) twinkles with sharp rippling reverb. Yet it eventually begins to fade as a strong echoing lead guitar solo emerges, leading the 17-minute epic further into the cosmos.

The song bounces along at a trotting pace and becomes an enormously mesmerizing raga. Things begin to slow down after a while, and LaJoie starts to explore different patterns and textures. He begins to even play with the springing echo itself in a call-and-response style. When the song reaches its end, the cosmic reverb is cranked up again and several layers of sped-up backwards guitars whirl around like the recordings were tossed into a blender. A fittingly hallucinatory finale to an incredibly spacey album.

If you love the epic transcendental jams of Tuluum Shimmering, the minimalist keyboard recordings of Terry Riley and the acid folk improvisations of Prana Crafter, then you’ll love this new Matt LaJoie album. Get your copy from Aural Canyon 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 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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