To minimize the preliminary blah-blah, Second Earth was recorded in a single afternoon by a pair of musicians playing together for the very first time. We owe the meeting to Michael Davis, a radio host who basically put the two sides in direct contact. Upon hearing the results, the gratitude towards Mr. Davis is growing stronger by the minute.
Let me be clearer. I have repeatedly stated that the act of channeling the profoundness of a musical discourse transcends the instruments through which the sonic intuitions materialize. The actual significance of an album like this resides in its capacity of attracting both camps of what’s known in the trade as “deep listening”. It’s definitely a guitarist’s nirvana, yet the music created by McAuley and Ray goes well beyond that level. We’re bathing in the kind of improvisational sublimity that happens – not just by magic but via intuitive knowledge – in extremely infrequent occasions.
I won’t dwell on the timbral exquisiteness and sense of poetry in motion conveyed by the performances; these gentlemen are famous for the sensibility of their touch. What must be pointed out instead is the truly amazing “in between-ness” inhabited by the artists, either in terms of pitch/harmony or audience-engaging psychological feedback. In essence, one feels at home wherever the sounds decide to stand. Layered, interlaced or in call-and-response settings, Ray’s sliding idealism (occasionally enhanced by intelligent processing) and McAuley’s savvy picking always find ways to involve while also facilitating our innermost focusing. Not to mention the sudden wish to grab the old steel-stringed companion lying on the sofa, and tune it differently once again in order to achieve what mere words will never, ever be able to express.
Accordingly, you should listen to this record in silence. The core meaning of vibration – unfortunately – can exclusively be shared at this altitude, the only tonality to be respected that of an unfeigned inside blossoming. The truth shifts, oscillates, sometimes breaks your heart. But the path is still clear enough for us not to get lost in senseless behaviors dictated by cerebral misfiring.