Boomkat Product Review:
Jules Reidy follows last year's astonishing 'World in World' for Black Truffle with two turbid sides of just intoned dream folk, using a custom-made hexaphonic electric guitar to guide meditations that crumple our perceptions of pop music. Indescribably singular, we'd say it's essential gear if you're into anything from John Fahey to Arnold Dreyblatt, Popol Vuh to Slowdive.
Last year’s 'World in World' sounded so familiar you'd swear you'd heard it before. Focus your hearing a little, however, and you soon realised everything was a bit unbalanced: the vocals didn't quite make sense and Reidy's expertly picked guitar phrases were tonally off-kilter. They lean into this phenomenon wholeheartedly on 'Trances', concentrating on the music's mantra-like qualities without losing the peculiar familiarity that made its predecessor so invitingly disconcerting.
The guitar is at the heart of the album once again, but Reidy disrupts strums and arpeggios with smudgy, sampled washes, field recordings, synths and, of course, AutoTuned vocals. Although it's split into twelve sections, the composition plays like variations on a central theme that wrings out emotionality using repetition and stylistic coherence within a well-defined framework.
If you're new to xenharmonic tuning, 'Trances' functions like a welcoming party. Over the first side, the compositions bubble like a stream, juxtaposing folk-picked guitar phrases and resonant harmonics with tense, low-end rumbles and shimmering electronic washes. When Reidy’s voice enters the picture, it's hazy and indistinct, the AutoTune making it sound even more uncanny, highlighting the ephemeral quality of contemporary playlist music. Reidy gradually layers more oblique elements: tempo-fluxed sine wave sequences, rubbery harmonium-style drones, tremolo and almost imperceptible 12-string guitar samples. The momentum never flutters, swirling into a vortex of wobbly tonality and pure feeling.
The second side plays like a broken mirror of the first, bringing back the dreamy vocal passages and bleepy synths periodically and building them into a thick, syrupy whirlpool of triumphant, mysterious expression. Occasionally, Reidy's voice rings against the guitars almost conventionally, soon engulfed in noisy washes or exaggerated drones, bringing us into a fugged dream state that encourages us to embrace the fantasy.
Like Florian Fricke's later Popol Vuh recordings, it's music that burrows deep under the skin, its directness as deceptive as its tonality. Needless to say, it's a great, great thing.