Friday, December 8, 2023

Philip Gayle-Mammoth Flower; Public Eyesore Records #156, 2023


Several weeks have passed since Disaster Amnesiac received Mammoth Flower, Philip Gayle's new recording for Public Eyesore. It's been a daunting process to try to review it, in large part due to my having noticed certain repeated tropes within reviews, tropes that, when noticed, became extremely aggravating. Sounds such as those produced on Mammoth Flower deserve better than that. Disaster Amnesiac has listened, many times, but just really doesn't want to get reductive about describing the album. Maximalist pieces such as the title track, wherein all sorts of musical elements, especially the wonderfully "inside/outside" alto sax of Shogo Ohshima, blend into a fantastical soundscape that evokes night scenes from Shinjuku or perhaps a jungle at its most dense spots, or Zone, with its glistening string slides and percussives, drop the listener into spaces that are almost overwhelming at times. It's been fascinating to note the astute uses of the multi-track recording process on both of them. This stuff is thick. Gayle also finds time for more reflective musical ruminations on geketsutoketsu, a sparse, spacious guitar piece worthy of Takoma Records (not that Public Eyesore is anything to sneeze at, mind you) and the similar minus inu. I Ain't Got No Think has Disaster Amnesiac tweaking as fingers skitter across strings and Omusubi-san and Fuuchan get primitive in the human vocal range, while TN 35 gets all SF Tape Music Center while pairing up with a returned Ohshima. Solo waterphone gets a lovely treatment on Ceann Ruadh Tiresias. An instrument with potential for such lovely, lonesome sounds, played well by Gayle. Richard Waters had a bit of a cranky side, or so I've heard, especially when it came to his opinions about musicians using his invented instrument. Surely he'd have heard the beauty within this track? 

Along with all of these wonderfully challenging sounds, Mammoth Flower is presented with groovy Abstract Expressionist painting by Kohei Akiba for its cover art. Wonderful stuff, full of blendings between lighter, brighter shades and darkness. Very cool. 

Philip Gayle traverses several distinct sonic approaches on Mammoth Flower and all of them are worthy of deep, dedicated listening. No platitudes present on it. Disaster Amnesiac hopes that they are also absent from this review. Sounds such as Philip Gayle's are worthy of deeper consideration.

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