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jon porras - Undercurrent
Arrestingly enigmatic debut solo from Elm and Barn Owl guitarist Jon Porras, dedicated to and deeply evocative of the northwest Pacific coast. A "…love poem to the mist", 'Undercurrent' is unfathomably vast in scope and effect, utterly immersive from the first film of drizzly, melancholy drone in opener 'Grey Dunes', to the lapping steel strings of closer 'Gaze'. In between his sound moves as naturally as the water cycle and with equally incalculable size making us feel relatively minute compared with the unreachable horizons of his soundsphere: a fact no doubt abetted by the Norman Conquest's exquisite peripheral mix. Inside this ecosystem distortion represents the wayward natural force of huge bodies of water passing between mountains and the ocean; elemental processes embodied as spectral, gaseous forms which shroud breathtaking harmonic topographies. Overall, the mood is as darkly impenetrable as the landscape itself, but certainly not without its moment of sheer beauty, found in the brief elation of fragile guitar found in 'Calm' and the heart-stopping 'Land's End', beauty spots of respite from the enveloping gloom. Fans of everything from Tropic Of Cancer to Grouper and Deathprod will find solace with this album. Hugely recommended!