With the use of a vibraphone, Elkhorn has once again changed the name of the game.

Available today on Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz, On The Whole Universe In All Directions finds the Philly/NYC guitar duo expanding their sound and transforming their entire dynamic by placing Drew Gardner on vibraphones and drums, instead of behind his usual electric guitar.

Despite the lack of that second axe, this Elkhorn record sounds just as thick, exploratory and beguiling as ever, if not more so. With Gardner being a veteran of the ’90s San Francisco jazz scene, he is certainly no slouch on his instruments of choice here. He filled the album with dreamy clouds of ringing, bell-like tones for Jesse Sheppard to lace his 12-string acoustic leads around. He then overdubbed his own slow, crashing cymbals and rolling drum fills into the tracks, illuminating an almost melodic path through the dense fog bank of wandering guitar and vibes.

The tracks on this record still certainly dwell within the same psychedelic guitar improv world of the previous Elkhorn releases, but the pair have broadened their sonic horizons, allowing for ECM-like minimalist folk-jazz to enter the picture. There is so much airiness, subtlety and even a deeper blue atmosphere in Gardener and Sheppard’s playing that could have only come from the jazz world. Listeners of John Abercrombie, Oregon and some of Bill Frisell’s early work will find a great deal to love about this record.

If ethereal acoustic jazz combined with the hallucinogenic openness of ’74-era Grateful Dead sounds like a good time (and you know it is), then get yourself On The Whole Universe In All Directions today.


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