April 05, 2004

Jack Rose "Two Originals of Jack Rose"

Jack Rose is a member of experimental band Pelt, a name many of you (myself included) might not be terribly familiar with. From what I've heard, their music is drone-rock based with a nice hint or two of ambient noise and minimalism. (Yes, I know, I'm really cluttering up things with mentions of these genres, but I'm trying to let you know that they're not a band to be pigeonholed style-wise.) The music he makes with Pelt is gentle, pretty and soothing, and it's no surprise that his solo project carries on the tradition.

Two Originals of Jack Rose is a compilation of vinyl-only releases, Red Horse, White Mule and Opium Musick. It doesn't matter much about what came from where, really, because these nine songs are all cut from the same cloth: gentle, simple guitar instrumentals. Nothing on Two Originals will cause your blood pressure to raise, nor will it wake you up from a gentle sleep--and it's nice that way. The music is soft, simple and repetitive, and Rose is clearly continuing the legacy of John Fahey. You'll hear acoustic guitar, dulcimer and possibly a banj; as such, these songs are a simple hybrid of blues, minimalism and Americana. Sometimes the music is fun and rustic ( "Linden Ave Stomp"), sometimes it's epic ("Red Horse."), but mostly, it's just downright pretty (the other seven songs). The one that really captures the attention is "Yaman Blues," which continues along the formula described above but adds a tampura, which adds a unique flavor to an already lovely record.

Two Originals Of Jack Rose is one of the gentlest records I've heard all year. It's much more than that, of course, but it's a sign of genius to make the most complex rhythmic patterns seem so simple. Doesn't matter about all that intellectual theory that's in the liner notes, because this music is just too lovely to be ironic. Enjoy it at your own peril.

--Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.vhfrecords.com

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