Review of Mount Carmel [12k1090]

I Heart Noise (.COM)

M. Grig’s latest album Mt. Carmel is a somber and beautiful meditative record that invites the listener into a self-described personal reflection on his childhood in Los Peñasquitos, California. The cover of the album is a perfect representation of how this album functions like the musical equivalent of a landscape painting. I can vividly picture the brush of California desert listening to the lap steel and dobro on Mount Carmel. The instruments and element of field recordings gives the record space which could connote any expansive outdoor setting. I can just as easily picture the sweeping fields of Iowa or any other bucolic American setting.

M. Grig manages to incorporate folk instruments into a sound that doesn’t feel like folk but is at the same time distinctly American. The drone aspect of Mt. Carmel is pleasant to listen to as this particular kind of drone is more for atmosphere than the focus of the music. I’m reminded of the way Wilco incorporated the E-Bow into their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That actually is a decent frame of reference for the work on Mt. Carmel. Alt-country ambient music? Never heard it before, but I’m a fan.

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