Black Eagle Child: Pages On A Plane
Under The Spire

Mere months after his Black Eagle Child full-length, Lobelia, appeared on Preservation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Michael Jantz returns with Pages On A Plane, an equally satisfying twelve-inch vinyl outing for Under The Spire. It's modestly ambitious in scope, with thirty-six minutes of music split across the disc's sides and available in an edition of 250 copies on marbled vinyl. Outdoor field recordings bolster the music's natural feel, with Jantz creating luscious tapestries of picked guitar patterns whose clean lines register as cool and refreshing breezes; his is a music, in other words, free of lugubriousness or oppressiveness. The spaciousness expressed in “I Am A Bunny,” for example, can make one feel as if one is standing out in an open field breathing in the country air.

The opening track, “The Lost Button,” is one of the album's most appealing, as Jantz builds the individual layers into a sparkling web of quiet, sun-dappled radiance. During both “The Lost Button” and the second piece, “Spring,” Jantz generates a striking degree of contrast between the chiming guitar picking and e-bow-like accents that gradually emerge. Side B's “Long Reflector” cultivates a pastoral and dream-like mood with Jantz weaving the guitar parts into a gently pulsing whole, the cumulative effect rather like slivers of sunlight breaking through trees in a forest. The album's sole misstep arises during “Cycle to the Moon” where the presence of drumming conventionalizes the Black Eagle Child sound by anchoring it too solidly when it succeeds best when allowed to float freely. Even so, Jantz has built up an impressive catalogue of releases (many of them cassette-only) in three years' time, and Pages On A Plane is certainly a more than credible addition to his discography. Don't be misled by the achromatic cover photo: this is music rich with colour, whether it be autumnal yellow-oranges or leafy blue-greens.

August 2011