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Michael Sahl; Tropes on the Salve Regina

Creel Pone
CP 092 CD
Compact Disc-Recordable
$10.00

I've heard rumo(u)r of the Creel Pone "shortlist"; i.e. the member-curated selection of "candidates" for the Creel Pone treatment, each title nominated then judged according to strict set of attributes found running throughout the series (intangible qualities, mind you, such as "zonked" - "private-universe / bedroom" - "against-grain" - "aleatoric" - etc ...)

Up high on said list all along has been this gem; Michael Sahl's first release, "Tropes on the Salve Regina." This one fits in so perfectly with the running canon of Creel Pone that it's almost hard to believe that this was actually released in the late 60s on Lyrichord; a label known primarily for their production-value heavy ethnographic survey LPs.

The piece starts out straight enough with a swash of detuned / atonal "bedroom" Free-Improv electric guitar (overdubbed and multiplied tenfold to yield a thick swarm of discordant plucking) before confoundingly detouring into an almost Robbie Basho -lineage bit of operatic recitation. The guitars pick up again when, suddenly and without warning, a hailstorm of Tape Manipulations render the individual guitar notes into a free-time grid of attacks & rhythmic gating, punctuated with short stabs of Concrète sound and heavily processed / time-altered variants on the recitation - for a good 20 minutes. The first half of the piece picks up speed & trails off, ending with a long section of o/t guitar lines.

If that wasn't already enough, the second half starts straight out of the gate with a flurry of tape-speed mangled guitar lines dotting across the stereo spectrum ... after a long section of muted field recordings, the guitar(s) come back in again, now bathed in Tape-Echo and Spring Reverb, quickly juxtaposed against wet and dry takes before sailing out in a sea of eastern-leaning psych-improv (imagine a Musique Concrète piece comprised solely of Jorma Kaukonen & Sandy Bull's mid/late 60s sound-checks & you're close).


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