POST ROCK / LO FI / ATMOSPHERIC |
Versatile guitarist-composer Roy Montgomery is known for several New Zealand post-rock groups in the 80s and for mostly solo work in the 90s and early aughts. Not heard from much in recent years, he bursts back onto the scene now with this 4 CD package. Each disc is essentially a different album with its own theme.
Disc 1: Tropic of Anodyne.
Montgomery sings only on this disc with a deep, sleepy baritone voice. The sound is a somber, psych folk. We’re talking about (almost) songs with downer, gloomy lyrics.
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1 Mid-slow. Layered elec guitars. Gloomy vocal, almost monotone. Foggy mix. (6:02)
2 * Slow. Low & gloomy again, but a bit more melodic, sung to mostly strummed rhythm guitars. Lead solo guitar in last two minutes. (5:56)
3 ** Slow. Parody (and/or reply) to the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Low growl with rhythm guitar strumming. A short lead guitar solo. (4:39)
4 Very slow. Painful vocal dredges the bottom of his physical range. (5:29)
5 ** Slow. Psych folk ballad a la Leonard Cohen. Deep emotion comes through. (4:39)
6 Slow. Instrumental intro. Somber vocal: down & out, pessimistic sentiments. (5:12)
7 * Slow. A jilted lover’s sad lament. Almost normal song form. Interwoven guitars. (6:00)
8 Very slow. Exceptionally gloomy. “The sun sets on a day from hell.” (5:28)
Disc 2: Darkmotif Dancehall
Loud, heavy electric guitar ambience. Each track a world of dark sound. No singing.
(9) 1 Short prelude. Oppressive like industrial machinery. Monotone. Sudden end. (1:48)
(10) 2 ** Mid-tempo. Cyclic descending chord progression. An enveloping world of cymbals. Powerful and compelling. (6:51)
(11) 3 * Mid-fast. Emerges from quiet blur. Steady crescendo; urgent rhythm. Repeated melodic theme atop a deep, dark foundation. (4:54)
(12) 4 *** Mid-tempo. Drum machine intro, add a bass, add rhythm guitar. Grow this into a tidal wave of sound. Finally add a lead guitar. Awesome. (7:26)
(13) 5 Mid-tempo. Starts loud instantly. Heavy rhythm guitar & drums. About four bars repeated forever. Little development. (4:08)
(14) 6 Mid-fast. A little less loud than the last one. Many layers, mostly rhythm. (6:00)
(15) 7 Mid-tempo. Takes a moment, then boom! Layers of rhythm plus high lead part. (5:27)
(16) 8 *** Fades in to continue #7. That high lead part develops into a soaring melody. The title seems to suggest Bowie, and the sound surely harkens to Bowie/Eno in their Berlin period. Gorgeous symphonic sound. First rate instrumental rock. (6:07)
(17) 9 An echo of track #1 to bookend the set. Harsh industrial noises. (1:07)
Disc 3: Bender
Varying cinematic moods. Electric guitars, bass guitar, effects processors. No singing.
(18) 1 * Slow. Strummed guitars. Like incidental music in a Western movie. Anxious. (3:03)
(19) 2 Mid-slow. Three strums, pick a broken chord, repeat, repeat, repeat. Hypnotic. (6:11)
(20) 3 * Mid-tempo. Deep, low drone. But a semi-cheery melody on top. A bit eerie. (5:53)
(21) 4 Very slow. Deep bass drone. Strummed chords. Picked arpeggios. SciFi noise. (5:18)
(22) 5 Very slow. Slowly strummed chords with tons of reverb & sustain. Fade out. (3:14)
(23) 6 ** Mid-slow. Intriguing orchestral effects. Like a dramatic movie soundtrack. (7:34)
(24) 7 Slow. Many layers from deep bottom to treble descant. Very lo-fi. Disturbing. (5:11)
(25) 8 Mid-tempo. Bouncy rhythm, no melody. Guitars & drum machine with effects. (6:25)
Disc 4: Transient Global Amnesia
Spacy, experimental head-tripping stuff. Varying moods & tones. Singing only in #5.
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(26) 1 (First 10 sec is dead quiet) Slow. Liquidy guitar tone. Mysterious & odd. (4:01)
(27) 2 * Mid-tempo. Surprisingly bouncy, upbeat, sunny. Jangly tone. (10:47)
(28) 3 (12 sec of silence) Very slow. Fade in slowly from very quiet. Psychedelic slide guitar. Sleepy drugged-out headphone candy. (4:17)
(29) 4 Slow, quiet. Gently strummed chords. Lots of sustain & fog. (4:09)
(30) 5 Slow. For 5 mins, multiple tracks of strummed guitars establish a lazy, somewhat sad mood. Then slowly mix in (but never to the front) intriguing, non-verbal, operatic-style singing by Emma Johnston, an experimental-theater singer in NZ. Deep, moving. (20:03)