Review of Mount Carmel [12k1090]

Ambient Blog (.NET)

With the massive amount of new music that is released every month, there’s the risk that many of them start to sound alike. Which is not necessarily a problem, of course, but it is always a refreshing surprise when an album stands out because of something the others don’t have. That can be many things: a creative approach, an unordinary sound, or a different choice of instruments.

Mount Carmel is such an album. M. Grig (Mike Grigoni, from Durham, North Carolina) specializes in dobro, lap steel and pedal steel guitar to create his ‘hazy, sliding sound steeped in nostalgia and mystery.’

‘While he seeks to display the personality of the steel guitar in ways both familiar and strange, he also creates sonic landscapes in which the personality of the instrument is buried, at times to the point of erasure.’

Mount Carmel is his fourth album, a debut on the 12k label, preceded by three albums on Other Songs.

‘Combing sounds made with an instrument with sounds recorded in the field, blending and enfolding these sources, is deeply satisfying and grounding for me. Making and recording music in this way is somehow like ethnography.’ (M. Grig studied ethnomusicology at the University of Washington).

On Mount Carmel, Grig returns to the places of his childhood in Los Peñasquito, California, where he spent a lot of time ‘kicking dust and watching for rattlesnakes‘.
A deeply personal album for himself, probably a recognizable atmosphere for anyone that grew up in the same area, and a fascinating and inspiring trip into another world for anyone who didn’t.

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