Here’s a fantastic new record on Blackest Rainbow by Jack Allett, formerly Spoono. The A-side is comprised of one long piece, which as one, yet is voiced as a triptych. Field recordings move ever so wistfully as an acoustic guitar bends and moves with a richness in the Takoma style. Odd electronics burp and tweet, with a bizarre spaced prog sound reminiscent of one of my favourite Acid Mothers Temple movements, “Five Dimensional Nightmare.” As the guitar gathers steam, so does the resonance that hangs in the air like an ink cloud. The playing is so exquisitely controlled; each subtle movement can be read as its own fully developed narrative. The chords traverse in glorious swirls that send every hair on the back of one’s neck on end. The velocity increases at a greater pace as the needle has traced its way across a third of the record. The forceful strumming is recorded with exquisite precision. This is hands down one of the finest sounding recordings in terms of production and high fidelity to raise its head from the underground in some time. Then again Allett’s technical ability in mastering sounds for vinyl that has been proven time and again with his work alongside Cam Deas and Shiggajon to name but a few.
The halfway point on the opening side veers into sparseness whilst maintaining a forward velocity. A touching ballad sings out with confident fingers and bubbling dissonance, to a sudden swell in motion. The Fahey influence is deeply apparent, yet there is a mysticism, an almost Japanese tinge to the sound mix that recalls Shinji Masuko and the aforementioned Kawabata Makoto. The loosely palindromic piece swirls in ever-thickening layers towards an apex that excites with an intricate repetition.
As the vinyl is flipped a soft melody appears as the first in a trio of very different songs begins. “Cold Harbour” bewitches as it lures one in with a very English sound, as if plucking some old folk song passed down through generations. I can’t help but think of the relentless marching ballads of Alexander Tucker, and the psychedelic imagery that comes with such compositions. As the movement climaxes, Allett shows his trump in aggressive and precise playing at intoxicating speeds. Within the beauty, delicacy and control there is a real aggression pushing through.
The second piece burns with a high frequency drone that forces a searing tone that makes my teeth feel uneasy. The tone wavers in some ghoulish raga that veers with horrid constancy. The notes shift to an air of almost tranquil qualities, like some siren not quite masking her evil intent. Finally things tremble to a sorrowful end before bleeding into the final movement, as things sing with hope and determination. A return to the mirth and pace of the A Side is present on the glorious track “Keep Crossing That Bridge And Never Tire.” The instrumental pallet expands to create a broad array of tones that inspire colour and the richness of life. The melody is played beautifully as the LP finishes with a simple, yet memorable finale. This is a truly evocative and enchanting record.