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AMN Reviews: Lucas Brode and G. Calvin Weston – Imagination / Meditation (2023; Cacophonous Revival Recordings)

This second duo recording between guitarist Brode and drummer Weston comes as a breath of fresh air. It is not overtly outside, dark, or experimental but it remains far from mainstream. Using clean and distorted tones, Brode floats over rock and funk inflected kit drumming from Weston. Indeed, the playing of both is grounded in bluesy rock but somehow ends up heading in more spacious directions.

Weston, who has played with a surprisingly wide variety of artists including Ornette Coleman, Derek Bailey, John Zorn, and DJ Logic, lays down steady rhythms that periodically get broken up by rolls and spurts of double-bass pounding. His playing is workmanlike but also improvisational. Brode solos through most of the album, throwing in choice chords also with effects and processing. His lines can be multitracked, giving the band a phantom third member.

Imagination / Meditation is not free or weird, but it is remarkably creative and a novel take on an established sound palette. The album is intense yet relaxing, harkening to space rock and jam bands yet with a modern raw and gritty feel that manages to be pastoral as well. The sense of optimism throughout is subtly contagious.

Look for this release from Cacophonous Revival Recordings on March 24. If you want a track to start with, try Bottled in Bond.

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