Boomkat Product Review:
Having impressed on releases via Digitalis and Time Lag, Ilyas Ahmed arrives at Root Strata with an altogether tougher and fuller sound. Warm tape distortion casts a little grime over the jangling arrangements, with Ahmed's swirling acoustic and electric guitars taking up the most space in the mix, providing a bluesy lynchpin for the recordings. organic percussion and filtered out vocals also adorn these songs, but you get the impression that Ahmed is first and foremost a guitarist - certainly that's how the album's been mixed, and it's always great to hear such a florid and accomplished musician rising out of the lo-fi dirge of underground Americana. With great songs like 'Some Of None' and 'Love After Love' Ahmed proves himself as a writer in the traditional mode, while 'As Another' finds him in Loren Connors mode, taking off with ether-dwellng lead guitars and spine-tingling, weightless melancholy. Closing track 'Exit Twilight' is a duet with Grouper, playing out in its denouement like a haunted folk rendition of 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)'. Liz Harris' voice could hardly be a better fit for this music - the obscured, smudged out echoes are just sublime, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to petition these two for a full album together. Until that happens Goner will do just fine, and its surely the most solid and advanced statement from Ahmed to date.