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Turnstyles & Junkpiles

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Album Review

Pullman (Bundy K. Brown, Curtis Harvey, Doug McCombs and Chris Brokaw) let the music do the talking on this 14-track album of guitar instrumentals, recorded directly to two-track in Brown's Chicago loft with little editing or effects. The move toward a more organic sound is not entirely out of left field for these members of the Chicago post rock scene; Brown made no bones about nicking an Allman Brothers riff for the leadoff track on his 1996 Directions in Music album. Still, there are some surprising influences to be heard here, the most prominent of which is recently "rediscovered" guitarist John Fahey. Fahey's influence looms over nearly every track, particularly the warm, fingerpicked drone of Harvey's "Two Parts Water." But the more surprising, and most assuredly unintentional, link here is to Windham Hill Records veterans William Ackerman and Alex DeGrassi. Their deliberate, beautiful melodies and rich textures are evoked on "Gravenhurst" (with special guest David Pajo) and Brown's soft, 60-second "Sunday Morning Traffic," a perfect soundtrack for an AM spent in lovely dreams. Album closer, "With Hands," and "In a Box, Under the Bed" bridge the aforementioned Ackerman/DeGrassi trademarks with the repetition and fret sensibilities found on Jim O'Rourke's Bad Timing record. Highly recommended to fans of releases on Fahey's Revenant label or early Windham Hill solo guitar records, Turnstyles & Junkpiles is an honest tribute to some of the acoustic guitar's most important innovators. The fact that is was produced by four artists on the outskirts of conventional rock music makes it even more satisfying.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the many criss-crossing collaborations between a number of '90s U.S. indie rock veterans, Pullman brought together Bundy K. Brown (Tortoise, Directions in Music, Loftus), Doug McCombs (Eleventh Dream Day, Tortoise, Brokeback), Chris Brokaw (Come, the New Year), and Curtis Harvey (Rex, Loftus). The members of Pullman had all played and/or toured together in some form or another throughout the '90s and recorded Turnstyles and Junkpiles in 1998, following with Viewfinder in 2001. Both records,...
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Turnstyles & Junkpiles, Pullman
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