Brian Grainger: Eight Thousander

Brian Grainger (aka Milieu, Coppice Halifax, Teenager, Vhom, and Pink Space, and Second Sun Recordings co-manager) weighs in with Eight Thousander, a debut solo collection of blissed-out soundscapes. Apparently, the material was completely improvised on guitar and organ without any overdubs, though the instruments sometimes are altered so dramatically they verge on unrecognizable. In “Whitecaps,” for example, whistling tones drift like phantoms over a haze of washes, and elsewhere titles like “Drowned” and “Oceanic” help tell the story of a project that's often about celestial drift, ghostly reverberance, and softly shuddering guitars. The instrument's delicate meander is almost smothered in crackle and haze during the thirteen-minute “A Soft White Chamber” and retiring “Retuned Minor” while its twang and strum dominate the bucolic folk reverie “Lost in the Woods.” Two untitled pieces close the album, the first an electrical drone and the other a relatively more conventional exercise in haunted atmospherics. The album as a whole puts guitar front and center, whether it's instantly recognizable or not, and the album should prove rewarding to fans of atmospheric, axe-oriented soundscaping.

January 2008