Secret Midnights 2008-2014
Secret Midnights 2008-2014 provides an excellent document of M. Mucci's solo electric guitar artistry. The sixty-eight-minute release presents two of the Guelph, Ontario-based musician's albums, The Secret is Knowing When to Close Your Eyes (first issued in 2011 as a 100-copy set and now supplemented by bonus material) and Midnights (originally released in early 2014 in an edition of forty copies), on a single C70 cassette.
Though twelve separately titled tracks appear on side one's The Secret is Knowing When to Close Your Eyes (all but three of the tracks were recorded in late 2010 at the Tall House in Guelph), they flow naturally into one another when they're so complementary in mood. Mucci's approach is thoughtful and methodical, and he performs the individual settings with a sensitivity to texture. Tender and serene, the material exudes the kind of nocturnal calm that suggests it was laid down after the family retired for the evening, and song titles such as “Waiting and Waiting” and “Watching the First Snowfall” reinforce the melancholy feel. At times nothing more than a single lonely guitar is heard; in other cases, Mucci layers guitars on top of one another, the result simulating relaxed conversational interplay that might have transpired had a fellow guitarist dropped by in the wee hours.Midnights is, naturally, as late-night in feel as the first side (if not more so). Recorded between December 2013 and January 2014, Midnights includes eleven numbered tracks that again form a thirty-four-minute whole. Recorded after 11 pm on some of the chilliest winter nights in years (those of us who live in Southern Ontario will attest to that), the sparse, semi-improvised electric guitar settings feature Mucci playing “slowly and quietly so as to not wake [his] family.” It might be hard to imagine, but the second side's reverb-drenched reveries are even more retiring and calm than those on the first. And though it hardly needs be said, anyone hungry for virtuosic flurries or grandstanding should look elsewhere; Secret Midnights 2008-2014 is all about lyrical, reflective playing that cuts to the core and speaks directly to the listener, and fans of Loren Mazzacane Connors should find much to admire about these soothing, tremolo-laden meditations.