Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Eric Barnett - Music for a picture of a painting

Guitarist Eric Barnett sent me his recently released cd - Music for a picture of a painting - details of which are at his myspace page. On this ambient album he plays electric, acoustic and lap steel plus prepared piano. There are two parts - a longer first (22') and shorter second (11'), with unnamed (numbered) tracks.

Part one begins with slow, resonant picked notes through which some gentle playing emerges together with pedal steel.The track is all about emergence and growth as the music develops, adding elements, intertwining layers, with some minor echo FX - attractive active ambience. The one false note on the album is the abrupt change from the fullness of track one into simple gentle melodic guitar in 2 - which has some pedal steel accents and close miking to emphasise the finger slides. There is an verse/chorus element as the piece shifts registers. Speed and melody pick up in 3 as looping figures are played, balanced by the steel. The final section is a pleasing experimental touch as the guitar plays backwards, including the finger positioning, fading to a wind-like humm.

Part 2 begins very softly, layering strummed and picked guitar with some deep resonances. Expanding guitar loops, both staccato and resonant in 6 are joined by scraped strings (from a piano) and a tinkling chime which is probably the 'preparation'. This continues in the final track, with a soft drone. Hollow, resonant ringing guitar emerges with more harpish piano behind, then fading to a final echoey ratchet processing in the dying minute.

This is a very nice album - eno budd and brooks came to mind - but Barnett has developed his own approach to guitar ambience which is strengthened by the inclusion of piano and experimental touches. Have a listen to samples at his myspace page, the find out how to get a copy of this satisfying ambience.

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