Epic desert cinema music from Michael Krassner’s simultaneously unsung and legendary improv collective. Lush, majestic, twangy, droning, dreamy, occasionally heavy instrumentals. Boxhead Ensemble started in 1992 when Michael scored his friend Braden King’s student project; this album consists of A+ cutting-room floor sessions for King’s feature film Here. Dozens of phenomenal musicans have played in the group, from Bonnie “Prince” Billy to members of Wilco. Here, Krassner is joined by Tim Rutili (Califone/Red Red Meat), Jim White (Dirty Three, Xylouris White), Shahzad Ismaily (Laurie Anderson, John Zorn, Marc Ribot), Jim Becker (Califone, Iron and Wine), and Fred Lonberg-Holm (Joe McPhee, Peter Brotzmann, Ken Vandermark). RIYL: Neil Young’s Dead Man soundtrack, Ry Cooder’s Paris, Texas soundtrack. This might be the high point so far in the group’s captivating discography; highest recommendation. Favorites: 1-2, 1-3, 1-9, 1-11, 2-4, 2-7. No words, no FCCs.|
1. (2:29)—Very slow, tense. Western fiddling. You can picture the tumbleweed.
2. *(8:56)—Rocks harder than any other Boxhead piece I’ve ever heard. Heavy, slow burning guitar. Jazzy drums. Gets really intense, almost proggy. Killer!!! RIYL anything on Rune Grammofon.
3. *(4:46)—Moody, soft, high drone. Minimal fingerpicking with lots of reverb. Gray sky music.
4. (2:15)—Shuddering guitar disortion, fingerpicked guitar, banjo.
5. (3:28)—Slow and low desert blues. Drums enter at the end.
6. (8:05)—Halting strumming, slide guitar, repetitive cello.
7. (1:56)—Noisy, slightly dissonant drone. Mournful wordless singing.
8. (1:07)—Raindrop-like, melancholy guitar plucking.
9. *(4:34)—Tin-can blues guitar, calm waves of pedal steel, painterly cello.
10. (1:32)—Insistent guitar picking.
11. *(2:39)—Fast brushed drumming. Warm, soft electric guitar.
1. (5:57)—Super slow boogie with pretty piano.
2. (1:58)—Muted guitar plucking.
3. (2:31)—Gentle, high, slightly feedbacky drone. Skittering flute noises.
4. *(8:29)—Fluttering background noise, intro drone. Energetic free drumming. Builds, gets loud and heavy. Full-on free jazz desert rock.
5. (2:23)—Dark, slow, trippy guitar jam. Shaker.
6. (2:30)—Moody, chugging guitar and banjo. Slow second half.
7. *(6:44)—Nocturnal, languid. Slow, keening, breathtaking cello solo.
8. (11:57)—Slow slide guitar. Reserved beginning. Slow fiddle. Turns into an ambling, psychedelic folk blues jam.
9. (1:13)—Various plucked strings, guitar distortion, hand percussion.