Oryan Peterson-Jones: classical guitar, modified sitar guitar, electric guitar, baglama, pipa, tamboura, zornah, piano, harmonium, synth, theremin, vocals, percussion, samples & field recordings; Eva Restad: saw, vocals & Edda readings; Joey Binhammer: modified sitar guitar, bass, electric guitar, vocals & samples; Sarah Tremaine-Hart: violin; SSSam Smith: percussion & samples; Giuseppe Antonio Volpi: bass; Don Malkmus: trumpet; Zach Moran: trombone; Sean Barry: bass clarinet; Thom Washburn: drums; TJ Thompson: drums & vocals; Dana Janssen: percussion; Andrew Pritchard: percussion; Katarina Rohsmann: vocals; Amanda Nevada Lacy Griffin: vocals
When Oryan Peterson-Jones made contact to point me towards this album, he wrote “recommended if you like Six Organs Of Admittance, Sun City Girls, Ghost, Earth, Dirty Three, etc”. Thus he established a record of sorts, naming an entire clutch of bands of which – believe it or not – I never heard a note. Perhaps this lack of material for comparison is what let me appreciate Drawn To The Investigation Of Shadows more over the course of scattered plays in the last five months or so. In fact, beyond illustrious reputations and stylistic dimensions, this work was evidently designed with finely tuned ears and a definite taste for instrumental abstraction of the purest variety; furthermore, as the thing lasts less than 32 minutes, the risk of weariness is excluded from the beginning. And, did you see how many people helped? In spite of the numerous hands and voices, the music does not reveal itself as untidy or wild: everything appears to be at the right place in the right moment.
So, let the reviewer continue the game initiated by this Portland artist, namely that of finding points of entry in the psychedelic-but-not-too-much universe depicted by the two tracks. Consider that the project’s name translates as “call up the ghosts”, and that peaceful guitars, strings and theremins are prominent in establishing atmospheres between dreamy and bucolic, in any case quite removed from “urban” contaminations. However, keep also in mind that you won’t find the witless trademarks of drugged disorganization: no “warped nightmare” vocals, no low-cost replicas of Pink Floyd’s taped laughs, no amorphous bullshit justified by third-rate “cosmic trips”. The basic substances are predominantly folk-tinged, occasionally (and intelligently) utilizing field recordings and anthemic streams with just the necessary hints to remote latitudes and resonant auras, plus a few unexpected solutions warranting the birth of authentic interest in the listener. If anything, the lone entity to which I managed to relate Peterson-Jones’ vision is my old buddy Mirko Uhlig (currently AWOL) in his Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf embodiment. The genuineness of the intuitions and the credibility of the orchestral vibrancy are indeed pretty similar.
In a nutshell, this music is still innocent. Enough for me to sing its praises.