Friday, April 12, 2019

Album Review: T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, Keefus Ciancia - The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space

The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space is an inviting, intriguing record. If the title evokes a light, breezy affair, it is anything but. It's dark and moody, even bitter at times and although not unpleasant, it is not an easy listening experience. Nor should it be. But anyone expecting gently strummed acoustic guitars and traditional Americana will be in for a shock.

There is little in the way of traditional songs: with the exception of the jazzy waltz Anti Cyclone, most tunes resemble slam poetry over cinematic soundscapes and tribal drums. The conventional instrumentation is drowned under modern production techniques and when a familiar sound like that of a piano or an electric guitar manage to emerge, they are usually heavily processed or lost in a sea of echo.

Lyrically, there are plenty not-so-oblique references to the current American political landscape: tracks like A Man Without A Country or To Beat The Devil very directly address topical situations and individuals... without ever really naming them.

Sonically, the album has little equivalent. You can hear echoes of Robbie Robertson's Music for the Native Americans or Forever's a Long Long Time, the Hank Williams cover album produced by Don Was in the late nineties. Mule Variations by Tom Wait or some of the more abstract collages by Bill Laswell also spring to mind. But the sparse trip-hop beats and ominous textures make this record an absolutely unique, if slightly intimidating experience. Nothing of value ever comes easy: the rewards are worth the challenge.

Genre: Of Its Own
Release Date: April 12th, 2019
Label: Verve Label Group
Rating: 8/10

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