Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson
Spotlight 7

Cam Butler
Erdem Helvacioglu
Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson
Justin Martin
Minus Pilots
Michael Mizrahi
Montgomery / Curgenven
Motion Sickness T. Travel
Neu Gestalt
Nothing But Noise
Olan Mill
Daphne Oram
Palestine & Schaefer
Principles Of Geometry
Pietro Riparbelli
Session Victim
Sparkling Wide Pressure
Trouble Books
Clive Wright

Compilations / Mixes
Maya Jane Coles
In The Dark
Lost in the Humming Air

Alphabets Heaven
Stefan Goldmann
Köln 1
Rivers Home 2
Sleeps In Oysters
Towards Green

Fazio: All At Once The Remote Go Forth My Soul And My Seeking,
The Unknowable Becomes Known

Quiet World

Fazio: Élégie
Faith Strange

Mike Fazio would seem to have retired his orchestramaxfieldparrish persona, for the time being if not permanently, but admirers of the wondrous work he's issued under that name needn't worry: the two recent works released under the Fazio name could just as easily have appeared under the orchestramaxfieldparrish guise, the Quiet World set especially. A purely instrumental recording, All At Once the Remote Go Forth My Soul and My Seeking, The Unknowable Becomes Known, was “improvised and  recorded on the beautiful morning of August 21, 2011, somewhere in New York City,” and presents Fazio's artistry at its purest: one man and one guitar, and all of its forty-one minutes recorded live. The range of sounds Fazio coaxes from that single instrument is remarkable, however. In the first of six parts, “Extending Wings,” thick washes hover ominously overhead, spreading out until they encompass one's full range of vision. Though his guitar sound might be described as metallic, it's never abrasive or alienating. Instead, there's a warmth to Fazio's tone that draws the listener in, something particularly evident during “The Pearl of the Sea,” where his crystalline picking reverberates against a cloud-like mass for a sublime eleven minutes, and “Truly the Light is Sweet, and a Pleasant Thing it is for the Eye to Behold the Sun,” where the impression created is of someone blinded by the sun's radiance. The album's closing pair, “Be Not Darkened, Nor the Clouds Return After the Rain” and “A Place for Giving,” offer a satisfying dénouement in offering a meditative and calm exeunt. Transporting, mystical, celestial, and majestic are some of the words that come to mind as one listens to the recording.

By comparison, Élégie is less strictly guitar-based but is no less satisfying for being so. In this case, Fazio adds piano, percussion, and pedal steel guitar to the recording's instrumental totality and incorporates speaking voices (his own and Clementina Di Ciccolini's) and even samples (from recordings made in 1912 and 1916) of tenor legend Caruso. The structure of the recording is arresting, too, in that two long-form meditations (each of them nineteen minutes) frame a central, piano-based setting. The opening piece, “Il Sognatore È Ancora Addormentato (Behold, This Dreamer Cometh),” establishes an immersive, dream-like ambiance from the outset, with billowing swathes of guitar haze accompanied by the hypnotic incantations of Fazio, his deep, crackle-drenched voice intoning “Come to me in my dreams and then by day I shall be well again,” and Di Ciccolini, who, like some fairy-tale apparition, coos “Run away with me, run away with me, my love, for you are my one true love / Let's go where we can be together and stay that way forever, forever…” The music unfolds unhurriedly, with Fazio using various effects to continually modify the instrumental core throughout the alternations between instrumental and voice sequences. The middle piece, “Dopo Tre Mesi, Tutto è Lo Stesso, Eccetto Un Piccolo Regalo, Quando Arriva L'inverno, Più Disappunti È Dispiacere (Petey's Song),” is, as mentioned, primarily a piano meditation, though its ruminative explorations are accompanied by ambient-drone atmospherics, presumably guitar- and effects-generated. “Mélodia Per Una Memoria (Faded Now and Half Remembered)” returns us to the sound-world of the opening piece but this time with Caruso's full-throated vocalizing in place of the earlier voiceovers. Like the album as a whole, it's mesmerizing stuff, to be sure, and the listener is swept away by the material, especially when heard at a high volume. Both recordings invite the listener into Fazio's sound-world, and one comes away from them marveling once again at how seamlessly the artistry of certain creators, Fazio among them, flows directly out of them.

May 2012