Review of Map In Hand [12k1040]

E-I (US)

Presented as a segmented, single work in seven parts arranged as nine tracks—and bracketed by snippets of field recordings at start and stop—Seaworthy quietly deploys the guitar between the poles of zero-attack/sustain/long decay cloud reductions and more literal strummed and plectrum passages. Within these opposites Map in Hand reveals itself as a paean to consistency. The pieces explore limits and restatement—part one is presented as a prologue, as itself and as a reprise—and favor short durations. Their progress is fairly and attractively homogenous, never reaching outside a central longing for stillness and shimmer expressed as either an active event or its slow decay. This single-mindedness is a strength, making the 40 or so minutes of Map in Hand a pleasant suspension of any number of more conscious preoccupations. The guitar’s voicings are all fairly familiar and this recognition aids in elevating the liminal quality of the music to the forefront of our perception. Any number of things come to mind as referential: the sedate moments of some Fripp soundscapes, the glassy trills of Leo Abraham’s recent Scene Memory, which displays similar levels of restraint. But Seaworthy keeps all matters even more compact and confined. Here, the contrasts occur between rather than within the pieces, creating a methodical sense of alternating between search and rest, compression and distention all the while remaining thoroughly reflective. – K. LEIMER

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