Loren Connors & Darin Gray: The Lost Mariner LP (+ At The Old Factory 7")
Just past 10 years ago this debut collaboration between primitive American blues guitarist Loren Connors and the confounding electric bassist Darin Gray was issued on CD. The Lost Mariner was the first in a pair of releases by the upstart Family Vineyard label. Now with a decade of hindsight and a nod to looking ahead, here is a a 700 edition LP reissue of the studio session considered by Connors to be one of his finest. Since this album's 1999 release Connors has released a series of sorrowful solo albums and multi-disc collections on Family Vineyard while Gray formed the cinematic On Fillmore (with Wilco’s Glen Kotche) and continued collaborations with Jim O'Rourke, Akira Sakata, Chris Corsano and others. The Lost Mariner is an improvised dialogue between these two musicians. Structure is there, but it roams as it sways, constantly adjusting and reinventing itself as the two react to its mysterious design. For this reissue the LP is sleeved inside stunning cover art (an Albert Pinkham Ryder painting) and contains the bonus At The Old Factory 7-inch. This raw, live snapshot of a 1999 performance comes on colored vinyl in a full-color sleeve designed by Katie Leming (Cro Magnon, Bird).
Darin Gray: St. Louis Shuffle
Debut solo album from bassist Darin Gray, associate, sideman and partner to Dazzling Killmen, Brise Glace, You Fantastic, Jim O¶Rourke, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Will Oldham, Gastr Del Sol, and Cheer Accident, and his recent bands and collaborations with Grand Ulena, On Fillmore. The debut is 19 complex and short improvisational vignettes. The music on St. Louis Shuffle is informed more so by the extended technique composition of Helmut Lachenmann, the microscopic music of Francois Bayle, the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Takeshi Kitano, and the cut-up trilogy of William Burroughs, than by free improvisation. Dealing more with huge dynamics, timbre and stillness than melodic or motivic improvisation and using a vocabulary of rumbling bass/ discomforting silences/ crackles/ hums/ scrapes/ clicks/ pops/ and switches/, Darin has made St. Louis Shuffle an album that is as beautiful as it is disturbing.