Marisa Anderson/William Tyler “Lost Futures”

Thrill Jockey, 2021

Two gifted guitarists blend together perfectly but there’s a spark missing.

A few months ago, Uncut magazine’s cover disc was a collection of what they called Ambient Americana, a newly coined term which provoked some online discourse. The term might take some time to bed in but there’s no doubt that ‘Lost Futures’, an instrumental album featuring the guitar skills of Marissa Anderson and William Tyler fits into this subset (Tyler did appear on the Uncut CD) as they gently spar, softly supported by occasional percussion, keyboards, violin and viola.

Aside from the rather brisk, repetitive, and cluttered ‘Something Will Come’, which jars somewhat in the centre of the album, the disc is quite meditative. ‘News About Heaven’ opens proceedings in a very soothing manner as it seems to just drift for four minutes, the guitars gently picked or strummed. The following title track is more pared-back, just the two guitarists who pirouette around each other in an engaging and (compared to much of the album) relatively short number. Its brevity is especially appreciated as several other of the tunes fail to develop or progress during their duration. There’s a circularity to many of them with neither of the two guitarists really striking out, content instead to mirror or circle each other. This is probably somewhat unfair but to an untrained ear (mine) which is probably failing to discern what does seem to be fairly intricate playing, this is essentially background music.

Having said that, ‘At The Edge Of The World’ does have some drama and a slight southern border edge to it. With its use of violin and imaginative percussion, it reminds one of 3hattrio. ‘Life And Casualty’ meanwhile cheekily inserts a nod to Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ towards its end. Clocking in at almost nine minutes, the closing number, ‘Haunted By Water’ does rise above the earlier complaints as it slowly meanders in a beguiling fashion, at times reminiscent of Jerry Garcia’s instrumental work on ‘Zabriskie Point’. Here, the guitars do shimmer and shine as the pair blend beautifully



About Paul Kerr 424 Articles
Still searching for the Holy Grail, a 10/10 album, so keep sending them in.
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