Review of Mount Carmel [12k1090]

Gonzo (BE)

M. Grig studied ethnography, descriptive ethnology; and he applies the methods he learned there to his music: collecting ideas, feelings and textures, to combine them in the hope of discovering hidden patterns. ‘Mount Carmel’, his first for the American ambient and sound art label 12K, is a reflection of that method, applied to his own childhood memories. Grig’s real name is Michael Grigoni. I don’t know where that abbreviation came from, but maybe the born and raised American thought his birth name was too European for the music he makes. Because besides a musical background as you can expect from a record at 12K, the instruments that Grigoni uses on ‘Mount Carmel’ come from a completely different tradition. The first listens were therefore a curious kind of experience. The droney textures sound one hundred percent like familiar ‘organic ambient’ in the spirit of Marcus Fischer and Taylor Deupree. At the same time, the use of dobro, lap and pedal steel, with their unmistakable sound and inflections, fired neurons in a completely different part of my brain – the part where the collected Americana usually lie comfortably in a coma. A personal shortcoming of the reviewer, because ‘Mount Carmel’ is a collection of beautiful and tender sketches of memories of what sounded like a happy childhood. It’s a bit like ‘Wood, Winter, Hollow, Deupree’s record with Seaworthy, transported from the Pacific Northwest to the warm hills of California. At times the ambient backing almost disappears completely, leaving only the dreamy, free explorations of the stringed instruments. Warm, volatile and personal.

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