Long-time Swans man Norman Westberg follows up on last solo reissue 13 with MRI, also for Lawrence English’s Room40 label. These recordings, which feature Westberg pulling his guitar through some deep and heavy processes, were initially self-released: this reissue is freshly mastered, and also features a brand new piece.
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- MRI by Norman Westberg
8/10 Ant Staff review, 23 March 2016
You all know who Norman Westberg is right? He’s the string twanger from SWANS that looks like my old postman, but who knew this guy was a master of minimalism?
Over the past four years or so he’s been self-releasing a bunch of CDr’s which has only come to my attention due to the fact that Room40 recently reissued one of them i.e ‘13’. If you enjoyed that particular disc then thank your lucky stars, because the label have another - and it’s a beauty.
In it’s original incarnation ‘MRI’ was a CDr entitled ‘Music From: MRI, 410stairs, Plough’. This newly mastered edition has some post-production and an additional piece recorded in 2015. Over the duration of the disc Westberg layers extended f/x laden guitar drones and subtle, spectral plucking to create a sonic tranquilizer. It’ll take you places. It took me places without having to move my body. For a time I left my body. Whether it’ll take you to the same places it took me I have no idea. Maybe it will if I tell you where it took me. Maybe writers subconsciously influence listeners journeys so I’m not telling you. So there. Anyway I’m not going to tell you what to think; I’m not your mother.
What I will tell you though, is that as far as beautiful, soul-stirring, hypnotic, hazy ambient guitar albums go; this is right up there. Warning: if you have shit to do like chores etc. it’s best not to listen to this album beforehand as it left me in a state of temporary physical paralysis. Like a three day bender on Night Nurse.
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