Willie ?Gutbucket? Lane is a young guitar player from Maine who is also the prot?g? of Matt Valentine. This is his first release on MV?s own Child of Microtones label and it features Lane travelling similar paths as those trodden by MV himself or Joshua Burkett.
Lane?s playing, though very clear and assured, is unmistakably imbued with these unique kind of ?psychedelic? fixtures (for lack of a better word) as found on the most far-out MVEE outings. I?m thinking of the ?Ragas and Blues? LP or any of those ?free folk? excursions that alternate more straightforward guitar playing with a very controlled and measured use of delays, reverse effects and other sound altering devices.
Willie?s set of tunes (11 tracks overall) could thus be divided as follows :
1) Some meditations on a particularly moving theme (tracks #2, #6, #9) whose delicate outlines flirt with the impressions we may have of what constitutes an actual song form. Here, you will find constant comings and goings between more clearly defined melodies and the various circumvolutions these may be subjected to.
Consequently, these tunes will be the ones to bear more distinctly echoes of some old blues and assorted folk ragas, their emotional colors being all the more elusive as they maintain a singular kind of ?experimental? edge.
They also have this slight melancholic feel to them, but it is very difficult to describe with accuracy. It may recall Joshua Burkett?s most intimate musical moments though.
2) More meditations which have a more free-form kind of basis and seem to take shape as they come to discover new grounds and carve out unexcepted melodic lines along their way (tracks #4, #6). These tunes really ask you to listen and offer some key entrance points into this particular sound world.
3) More abstract movements in which the guitar is rendered almost unrecognizable through the use of various treatments (tracks #5, #7, #8, #11). Although these tracks may appear to be more transitional in nature, they are responsible for inducing a more ?droning? climate while serving as a sort of unifying force behind the whole thing ? which also suggests that the stylistic distinctions I just made may become totally irrelevant the more you get into the music!
Actually, I can only describe it by saying that it all feels like yet another invitation to travel ?inwards? ? what they usually call ?cosmic? avant-folk or blues. Anyone who has fallen for the ?spectrasound? of the Tower Recordings will know what I?m talking about !
This is a music which demands that you give up any preconception you may have of the differences between a more structured (written) piece of music and what is commonly referred to as improvisation. You may feel a little bit left out at first, but you will be highly rewarded once you fully give in to its actual flow and accept to let go. Whether you choose to listen to it closely or just let it fill your space, this music will always be very special.
To conclude, I will add that this Willie Lane CD is not only a must-have for all the fans of the MVEE canon ? as it gives us some new insights into the unique musical approach favored by our fellow ?Children of Microtones? ?, but it should also appeal to any music lover who is simply looking for some new emotions to feel and share. 8/10 -- Francois Hubert (28 August, 2006)