Rarely has the feeling of late summer twilight been captured as well on record as on this collaborative effort by Southern California native Brian Ellis and South Carolina ambient producer Brian Grainger. This is the sound of two offbeat musicians zoning out with acoustic guitars, hand drums, flutes and an array of vintage synthesizers and tape machines, brewing a mysterious, mellow kind of acid folk, like it’s never quite been brewed before. Though psychedelic in nature this isn’t yet another materialization of a 1970s commune-folk vision - rather it feels like a work of ghostly solitude, strangely absent from human activity, slowly, aimlessly moving forward like a lonely breeze travelling down the coastline as the day fades away.
Brian Ellis has been perfecting his raga-influenced guitar playing for years in the outskirts of San Diego County, absorbing the Takoma catalogue as well as British folk from the 1960s and 1970s, before deciding to merge his unique style of playing with the hazy sounds of East Coast synth-wizard Brian Grainger - an expert in sculpturing electronics in such a way that they sound like organic entities rather than electronic circuits. The result is a hushed, pastoral piece of music, evoking the rural American surroundings of its creators and its warm southern air.
This lengthy collaboration took place over several years - on one hand everything floats in a seemingly unordered manner, but on the other hand everything follows a crystal clear overall path. Ellis’ open-tuned guitar playing merges naturally with Brian Grainger’s faded synth lines and sound treatments, sometimes alluding to several styles and musical eras simultaneously, creating an atmosphere of ambiguity and timelessness throughout the album. Ultimately a serene, rare and kaleidoscopic work.
File next to: The Incredible String Band, Freescha, Robbie Basho, Six Organs of Admittance