Tom Lecky giftedly writes compelling and winding progressions for multi-tracked acoustic guitar, all evocative of a common dark and antique mood, similar in their emotional pull to walks around an ancient town at dusk. These particular releases by the artist — two separate albums packaged as a double LP — are both very striking and very original: like many deeply intelligent artists, Lecky draws influence from the past without burdening his music with nostalgia.
This is an important distinction between Lecky and many other contemporary musicians: like James Blackshaw, Lecky approaches the acoustic guitar in unconventional and new ways, treating it as a kind of orchestral instrument, psychedelic in the sense that through its use a composer is able to call up profound mental impressions, of a deep opacity, in the listener’s consciousness. Stylistically, this occurs as the songwriter layers his guitar phrases through overdubs or through an echo effect (so much so that at times the playing on the albums approaches the sound of a pianist depressing a sustain pedal), with Lecky achieving great depth of field in the structure of his compositions, with different tracks or repeated notes winding together to form a dense pasture of sound.
This layering effect works because the emotional depth of Lecky’s work is equal to its formal depth; the shimmering, autumnal feel to the album owes much to a strong intelligence that is always present beneath the music’s surface. In creating his music in this way, the musician is particularly successful at achieving a form of worthwhile expression, and has created absorbing work in the process. I would truly recommend these albums to any intelligent and honest person looking to challenge their concept of what new music can do.