On Fillmore is the duo of Glenn Kotche and Darin Gray, who between them have played with amazing artists from Chris Corsano and Jim O’Rourke to Wilco. Happiness Of Living includes yet more musical collaborators, all adding up to an impressive suite of spontaneously-composed and texturally-varied music. Nourishing stuff, on Northern Spy.
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Glenn Kotche and Darin Gray are two guys who know Jeff Tweedy. Things are therefore pretty easy for them, or at the very least extremely dad, and together they’ve decided to make a record that defers to said breeziness. They were in Rio de Janeiro and they felt it only right to release a record that floats gorgeously between strands of smooth melody, broken free jazz and bubblegum pop.
It basically always sounds pretty pleased with itself, which is nice: you can hear the two of them announce the initial readying of a song together, plus ramshackle performances from others. “Jornada Interia”, with its musical-sounding percussion and riffy guitar grins, is pretty much the epitome of just playing for the enjoyment of playing. “Cave Crickets” melds gorgeous, languishing vocal harmonies with a cool bass line and a shaken beat, the whole thing sweltering under a sun so hot it starts to make noise when it hits the ground.
At times it sounds wonderfully spacey, a cosmic lil’ opera with meandering singers and gleaming chords (“Espaco”); at others it’s a party done fast, the percussive shuffling and frenetic band playing on “Truta Samba” making me feel like I’m very much part of an evening. Nice stuff from people who know famous people.
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