Review of Mount Carmel [12k1090]

Headphone Commute (US)

The final entry in this Sound Bytes 12k Label Special is courtesy of Durham (North Carolina, US) based Mike Grigoni, who, after a few self-released digital EPs signs to 12k as M. Grig, with his label debut, Mount Carmel. Perhaps the immediate sound that I take notice of is that of a pedal steel guitar, which, after its prominent appearance on my #1001Albums journey in the music from the 60s sounds so fresh, inviting, and divine. Along with the soft lounging ambient pads, it coasts, drifts, and glides through its desolate voyage. Durham has been a birthplace of Americana, bluegrass and soul, and with this incarnation of Grigoni’s sound, a new special elegance of ambient. The resonating strings appear from the dobro, and one can almost picture a vast open landscape through which perhaps a tumbleweed blows. And although this desolate and lonely image has become a staple of the Western film genre, the symbolism is more poignant on Mount Carmel. Here’s what Grigoni says of his most personal record: “… Feelings anchored to material things constitute my memory of [my childhood]: the ice plant in our front yard we would step on to crush out its juice; the lava rock beneath the pine trees; the Santa Annas – hot, dry winds that would suddenly blow in our backyard; the dry and barren hills without trees, only brush – chaparral and sage – that I constantly climbed. This particular landscape permeates and orients the record for me.” The album is named after this landscape in his mind, a place Grigoni calls his Mount Carmel. Recommended for early meditative weekends, and fans of everything that makes 12k unique.

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