Songs From the Guitar Solos
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Although Jeremy Boyle is a longtime member of Joan of Arc, this record sounds nothing like them. Nothing. Boyle goes about as far away from the song convention as you can get.
On this release, Boyle takes the conceptual nature of Joan of Arc about 3 miles farther. He limits himself to the palate of sounds created by the guitar wankery of the past few decades. Yes, you heard that right, this is an entire album of heavily processed guitar solos. Instead of sounding dry and academic as conceptual excursions tend to do, this record is filled with a warm playfulness. To say it sounds like Oval would essentially be saying the same thing as saying that Mozart and Iannis Xenakis sound alike, because they both compose “classical” music. The fact that Markus Popp and Jeremy Boyle compose within the same idiom does not make them sound the same. Boyle does not share the same fascination with timbre that Oval does. Often, Oval tracks are layers and layers of processed textures, with minimal complexity in the melodies. With Boyle, it is the opposite. On this CD, the melodies are the strongest aspect. “Van Halen” (all of the songs are named for the band the solo was taken from) we hear a short, gritty pulse soar across the stereo spectrum. Buzzes, like those created from bowed instruments, hover and float across the landscape. “Sabbath” is the longest track, clocking in an 11:11. It has a strong ambient feel, the sounds are positively lush, and the headspace created is just lovely.
One of the worst things that I could see happening with this record is someone thinking that it is a “novelty.” Songs From the Guitar Solos is an extremely well-crafted and honed work, whose music is capable of standing alone of both its concept and the history of its creator.
Southern Records, P.O. Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657; http://www.southern.com