Somewhere in New Zealand, Alastair Galbraith is trying to fix his four-track. Although I’m probably way off, I can only assume that he is isolated. His albums are like secrets. His past is irrelevant. His approach to music is that of a crooked music box designer. His designs seem harmless enough, on first glance. Once open, a small stick figure looks up at you and examines you as it rotates in its place. Strange tones slowly vibrate the box near the edge of the table demanding that you cautiously push it back towards the middle. I have no idea what is a guitar played backwards, a bagpipe, a keyboard[sigma]and then the box closes. Open it again and hear what should be New Zealand’s national anthem cut short in all its softly spoken word glory. Galbraith punishes instruments until they cooperate. He kneads them like soaked cloth and slowly pulls them apart to hear the stretching of limits. His iconoclastic folk is a good place to start. Then you can discover his more fully realized instrumental themes on his contributions to Wire Music and A Handful of Dust.
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