Review: Light Wa/orship – Equine (Noise Pelican, Apr 24)

I’m not sure what I was expecting upon my first listen of Light Wa/orship. Perhaps something more in line with the only other Noise Pelican release I’ve heard (the oft-mentioned Anaconda), raucous improvisational interplay and abrasive abuse. I certainly didn’t anticipate that a guitar album would so perfectly hit the spot this morning; I’d already turned off another album because I felt it had too much guitar for what it was. But this recent release by Denver-based guitarist Kevin Michael Richards (who releases music under the alias Equine) has no concern for meeting or even defying anyone’s expectations. It simply is what it is: a superbly paced, well-textured piece of solo improvisation. Richards immediately cements our attention with the initial segment of part I, a patient, spacious feedback study that simultaneously builds contentment and anticipation. Soon, however, more begins to work its way in. Richards’s idioms are not the abstract squawks of extended technique reliance or even the dissonant phrasing of noise-generation; instead he mainly relies upon the conventional, crafting polymorphous drones of oscillating loops and pentatonic cells. These enrapturing structures create an utterly hypnotic and time-distorting effect as Richards manipulates and adds to his arsenal of shifting layers. This only makes the moments where the noodling gives way to blazing hot psychedelia even more impactful and cathartic. Come for the brilliance of the title, stay for the brilliance of the music.

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