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Expo Seventy – America Here And Now Sessions

Essence Music

Expo Seventy - America Here & Now SessionsRecorded as part of a travelling art exposition of the same name, the sessions released as America Here And Now finds Expo Seventy in a rare four-piece configuration, mainstay Justin Wright joined for the sessions recorded in Kansas City by Aaron Osborne of Monta At Odds and Mysterious Clouds on bass alongside drummers Mike Vera (Shroud Of Winter) and David Williams.

Divided into two side-long movements (the album is available on all manner of lovingly presented vinyl and CD editions, including a limited art edition containing an extra CD-R of jam sessions, all wrapped up on the LP sleeve in Erik A Hamline‘s retro-psychedelic tropes of wavy lettering, chopped Harleys and the wide-open lysergic US skies), the album shifts gear easily and sublimely from the opening notes of Wright’s trademark soaring tones and Osborne’s clean, cyclical bass ruminations.

Carried aloft by the guitar, the first movement takes matters slowly, the two percussionists tapping off each other to build up the tension. Before long it’s quite easy to find that time has slipped into a different dimension altogether, the flowing ripples of six-string ecstasy and delay shrugging off the burden of gravity in exchange for a slow-burning dive into the furthest reaches of what for the sake of space rock argument might be termed either the cosmos or inner space. This reflective interplay between the passage of notes and rhythms soon renders the outside world to oblivion, provoking a concentrated hypnagogic state at times, the music fluctuating between lucid dream excursions and the sweetly scented flux of the spaces between. Did twenty minutes or more just pass in the blink of a rapid-eye movement?

Perhaps they were transferred into the dilated temporal spaces of the second movement, because here things move at a very different pace, the slumbers tumbling in cymbal washes and electronic pulsations that reverberate their own sweet way across the stereo spectrum. When the double-drummers kick in properly, they do so in an energetic — though restrainedly so — display of muscular interplay that Wright smears with textural vibrations that hold steadily to the head-nodding pace. When the tipping point is reached in a welter of rippling (a)tonal sparks, it curls back among folded-in recursive feedback, and rapid accretions and diminutions of percussive dexterity.

The fade here is lengthy and involved, and on the CD version of the album, there’s yet more still to come. The third (bonus) movement continues the trip in cosmically-stoned fashion, rising up from a substratum of electronic trails and rumbling drum rolls into a slight return to the heart of the psychedelic matter at hand; perhaps not essential, but it makes from a nice coda to the album, dripping and chirruping — no, that’s not the central heating at work — away to its home in the void of silence at the end of the disc. It’s a neat bookend to an album which is both another excellent addition to the Expo Seventy catalogue and to the annals of space rock in general.

-Linus Tossio-

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