Compilations / Mixes
Black Eagle Child:
Go Around, Again
Go Around, Again, the title of Michael Jantz's latest Black Eagle Child opus, shouldn't be construed as some world-weary comment by a cynical artist. Rather, Jantz intends it as a reference to the repetitive, loop-styled approach associated with the minimalist tradition of Reich and Glass. Even that, however, could lead to misinterpretation because while the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based artist's music does maintain some degree of connection to that tradition (something that's especially apparent during the album's closing piece, “Eighteen and Six”), it's hardly all that his music's about. Issued on twelve-inch vinyl, the thirty-five-minute recording arrives not long after his previous release, Pages On A Plane, which was issued on Under The Spire in mid-2011, itself only months after Lobelia appeared on Preservation. With a resume listing somewhere in the vicinity of twenty-five releases, Jantz is not only a formidable player and composer but obviously prolific, too.
The album's opening piece, “Sun Cylinder” arrestingly bridges two dramatically distinct temporal realms, the first a nineteenth-century, Old West-styled one that's suggested by the insistent clip-clop of the rhythms and the pluck of the acoustic guitar and the second an undetermined futuristic one evoked by the spacey feel of e-bow and synthesizer playing and an overall psychedelic ambiance that grows progressively more ecstatic as the piece unfolds. Sixteen minutes in length, the track extends its relaxed, midtempo trot across the vinyl album's entire first side, making the listener feel upon its completion as if he/she has accompanied the traveler from the start to finish of the sundrenched trip in question.
The B-side presents three shorter pieces in neat formation. If the sound-world of “Running Around the Room” isn't dramatically unlike the first, the energy level does intensify as it sees Jantz moving beyond the opening piece's laid-back languor to a more jubilant gallop. Glockenspiels and acoustic guitars still form part of the mix, but now they're joined by hand claps, wah-wah effects, and even a hint of kazoo. Grounded as it is by banjo playing and a pounding bass drum (and framed by a child's babbling), the aptly titled “Phrases of the Moon” sounds like it might have initially arisen during a late-night outdoor gathering dominated by mystical chanting and other primal rituals. Of the album's four settings, it's clearly the A-side's “Sun Cylinder” that's the stand-out, not simply because it's the longest but because it distills Jantz's Black Eagle Child vision most completely into a single piece. But don't get the wrong idea: the other tracks are well worth one's attention, and one comes away from the project concluding that perhaps the best way to interpret the title is to think of it as a reference to the repeated plays that Go Around, Again will invariably receive.