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Between Hemispheres

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Album Review

Mark Dwinell's made his name as a member of the excellent psych/drone group Bright, but under his solo guise of Nonloc he takes an enjoyably different path, with a series of songs paying open and specific homage to the minimalist looping style of such composers as Philip Glass and Steve Reich, among others. The resultant Between Hemispheres album creates an intriguing tension between this compositional approach and the instrumentation used to create it, relying on a variety of folk and rock instruments instead of classical ones. The effect is of a brisk, often bubbling and energetic kind of rock and roll that has antecedents (once or twice the work of early Spiritualized comes to mind) but feels newly fresh in this context — not a traditional band performance as such, but detailed enough to be a futuristic ensemble as much as a solo overdubbed creation (as it actually is). Dwinnell's vocals are, perhaps appropriately, minimal throughout — he only sings on about a fourth of the songs total — leaving the focus instead on the music, from the sparkling and well titled "Piano Stream" to the slow, almost sea shanty pace of "Two Dreams," again an appropriate title for the music featured. Even a song like "Golden Apple Pie," which could be a sweet, acoustic pastoral number in any number of hands, takes on a new, clipped air thanks to the compositional approach, rendering it familiar and different at the same time. The one change in the approach appears at the end with the title track, where the full-on crumbling drone flow suggests Bright more than anything else on the disc, while also serving as an appropriately slow, unwinding finale as a whole.

Between Hemispheres, Nonloc
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