steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Robert Poss

"Crossing Casco Bay" CD

Trace Elements Records

Genres: guitar music,  experimental

Trace Elements
172 East 4th St.
Suite 11D
New York, NY 10009

Mar 3 - 9 2003

It really is amazing what can be done with the guitar.  On Crossing Casco Bay, Robert Poss uses his axe (along with some electronics and basses) to create vivid experimental pieces that truly represent what the instrument is capable of.

"Crossing Casco Bay" and "Drift," the first two tracks, are both twenty-minute drone pieces that recall some of Phill Niblock's work.  The former uses a nice electronic / guitar team-up, whereas the latter is the work of three people playing bowed basses, oscillators, and an electronic baritone guitar.  Although the two pieces are surely going to be seen as annoying by those many of those unfamiliar with the avant-garde (as is always the case with drone work), experimental listeners will have no reason to complain.

After a short, yet very powerful incidental piece called "Daybreak in Hanga Roa" (Hanga Roa, in case you don't know, is the only town on Easter Island, the most isolated island on the planet - see more here), the album finishes off with "Theme For An Imaginary Car Commercial" and "Throne Of Blood (Reprise)".  The former is a dark, brooding electronic / guitar piece with a strong beat.  It works surprisingly well, and does to some extent recall the stuff you hear in car ads.  "Throne of Blood (Reprise)," meanwhile, is a very pleasant tune that combines Poss' guitar work with bass and tabla accompaniment.

Altogether, this is an interesting album that explores a nice range of the types of sounds that can be produced with the guitar.  Recommended.


Fun Fact: Crossing Casco Bay is, in fact, a companion CD to Distortion Is Truth.  A review of Distortion can be read here.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 5 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]