Kinetic Tones from Expo '70 is a continuation of the distinctive sound Justin Wright has pioneered across a decade long career. Minimal guitar drones are combined with feedback hum to create something both ambient and psychedelic. This record also has a unique feel because it was recorded without overdubs to analogue tape. Oaken Palace has pressed 500 of these on very limited bronze vinyl.
LP £16.99 OAK-008
Limited bronze coloured vinyl LP on Oaken Palace Records. Edition of 500 copies.
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The thing about Justin Wright’s take in ambience is that it’s rushing. Ok, I know it’s slow, it’s drone, but like the cameras in a particularly hectic episode of Masterchef, these synth drones are tense, trembling things. They’re always paving the way for a grand canvas of psychedelia; whirring kosmische additives move in and out like passages of a grander infrastructure, the initial sustained motif a mere skyline under which everything else fucking goes. So here we are, it’s Expo 70, the year 2016, the one after 2015, the chronological next step, and ‘Kinetic Tones’ is happening all around your ears and all inside them and everywhere.
Actually, this record is a lot subtler than ‘July 18, 2004’, whose extremely fragmented movements and samples created a feeling of total disparity. This one holds on to its drone harder, with “Static Harmonic Pendulum” essentially running in place as groaning sounds filter in and out. “Eidetic Memory” sees Wright suddenly switch to a guitar, distorted and delayed to sound like one of Earth’s barren wastelands. It’s a gorgeous and striking transition, one that feels almost unusual considering the way Wright might usually adapt his environment (subtly, but on a grand scale). The record goes back to its ominous, whirring origins with “Lucid Landscapes”, though this track moves with whistling synth and an abundance of noise. Again, the coin flips with an almost too beautiful, overwhelmingly new age “Ascension From Dusk”, which again employs a bit of the ol’ amp balladry and a stifled motif that sounds like a clock rather tragically ticking.
This is, of course, great stuff -- with about forty records in just over a decade, the dude Justin Wright knows how it’s done. What’s lovely about this record is its brazen juxtapositions: it's fitting that Wright is into tones, not tone, because he’s trying to drone in multitudes.
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