Matt LaJoie - Everlasting Spring (Flower Room Records) 2 Left
Due with me Early to Mid October 2020
Edition BLACK VINYL
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"Matt Lajoie is another artist who never seems to rest. After a packed 2019 that saw offerings from Starbirthed, Ash & Herb, and his solo debut, the artist follows that solo record with his second as we tip-toe into 2020. Under the title Everlasting Spring, both the album and the track seek to bring an eternal vernal lushness to the world. Matt’s playing is often more spiritual than some of his fingerpicked brethren, and he showcases the wonder and patience that are his core on this track in particular. The song sparkles with a crisp dewiness that’s cooling, comforting and rejuvenating in a way that wipes away the worry that’s been accumulating in the wrinkles of 2019. The song inhales all the negativity in the room and exhales a peaceful surrender to joy. With the aid of loops and a soft blanket of reverb, Lajoie turns the acoustic ripples of this track into kosmiche meditations that pick up the yoke from Manuel Göttsching and Popul Vuh. Fans of either should find quite a lot to lay into here. Knock this one high atop the pile of 2020’s most anticipated, its shaping up to be an essential release." - Andy French, Raven Sings The Blues
"A spiritual follow-up to The Center and The Fringe, which appeared on a list of my favorite guitar music from 2019. The method is the same, but the shape of these single-take guitar loops feels more three-dimensional, as acoustic strums and melodies swirl around its psychedelic goblet." - Lars Gotrich, NPR Music
Last January, Maine multi-instrumentalist and experimental-psych lifer Matt LaJoie capped his then-15-year career of performing and releasing music under an avalanche of solo aliases (Cursillistas, Endless Caverns, ML Wah) and involvement in groups such as Herbcraft, Starbirthed, Ash & Herb, and MV & EE's Golden Road, with The Center and The Fringe - a wide-ranging instrumental collection of longform electric and 10-string acoustic guitar meditations and ambient soundscapes that was the first record ever released under his own name. Shining a finer light on LaJoie's improvisational method of creation he has dubbed "automatic composition", the album was essentially a live album that showed his process of building finished pieces of music note-by-note, in real time, using just one guitar played through a looping pedal. With only a single live solo performance in the books since the release of The Center and The Fringe (bootlegged and released as the "Full Service Station" cassette this past summer), LaJoie returns in 2020 with a brand new album of solo guitar instrumentals and intentions to hit the road throughout the year, sharing the process live and in the flesh.
Recorded live at home in much the same fashion as his debut--an afternoon's improvisation, presented with minimal edits and zero overdubs--the whole of LaJoie's new LP Everlasting Spring creates its bouquet of color from an even more minimalist palette, utilizing only a single guitar in one tuning for its entire three-quarter-hour runtime. Though the Les Paul stays in its case this time around, Everlasting Spring doesn't entirely sound or feel like an "acoustic guitar record" - thanks in part to the live-looping DL4 pedal and Holy Grail Reverb, which LaJoie uses to manipulate very simple elements into rich, vibrating fields of abstract ambient sound.
In LaJoie's hands, swirling, celestial loops begin as single plucked and bowed notes; as the drops fall into place and form a shimmering aura, improvised lead lines and free-ranging solos sound magnetized by the mist surrounding them, condensing a cloud of possibilities into tactile form. The opening title track and first single is perhaps the greatest distillation of this technique, intention, and inspiration that LaJoie has captured to-date, winding and floating effortlessly through streams of spontaneously arising melody and texture.
The glowing comparisons to kosmische idols Popol Vuh and Ashra garnered by The Center and The Fringe are likely to resurface, though it's clear on Everlasting Spring that LaJoie is soundtracking an experience more pastoral and earthbound than the extraterrestrial ballrooms dreamed up on its predecessor. From the atmospheric electrical fields shifting and parting the storm winds of "Showers Over Birch Point" to the stately orchestral glide of "Branchwork" and the gentle, slow-motion, silver-stringed massage of concluding 16-plus-minute opus "A River's Breadth", an inviting warmth permeates each pluck and strum. Melodies arise gently, slowly transformed by the current and carried away to new tributaries. On a mission to inspire and expand the boundaries of both ambient/new age and 21st century solo guitar music, Everlasting Spring is an open invitation for listeners to hear and participate in the latent symphonies seeking expression in every moment.
"As I was considering the cover art for my new album, I kept returning to the water imagery that I've used to describe the way I make improvised music from a receptive, intuitive, Yin space. The image of a cosmic waterwheel ("Cycle [#10]") that I created as a glyph representation of the Wheel of Fortune placed itself at the front of my mind and revealed its connotation: I was as a waterwheel. This has become a powerful meditation for me - dipping into the stream of inspiration and possibility to take just what's needed, directing that energy toward a new creative purpose, and then returning the runoff back to the source at the end of the cycle. Nothing is actually taken or lost, and yet something new has been created in the process. This is the Everlasting Spring." - ML
Matt LaJoie: 10-string Seagull acoustic guitar, DL4, Holy Grail Reverb
Recorded, produced, and mastered by Matt LaJoie. Vinyl mastering and lacquer cut by Carl Saff.
Cover art, text, and layout by ML. Back cover portrait by Ash Brooks.