Julian Lynch

(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Orange You Glad (2009), 7/10
Mare (2010), 5.5/10
Terra (2011), 6/10
Lines (2013), 6/10

Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter Julian Lynch, who was still a student in ethnomusicology when he debuted, specialized in lethargic bedroom psychedelic folk, like a more literate and slightly inebriated Will Oldham, a style pioneered on the cassette Born2Run (2009) contained the single Droplet On A Hot Stone and the two-part Banana Jam.

Orange You Glad (Olde English Spelling Bee, 2009) was the mature manifesto of his simple yet cryptic art. Several songs are wrapped (buried?) in a blurring fog, with Venom being dominated by spaced-out guitar, the waltzing and organ-enhanced Andaza sounding like a late-night jam between Neil Young and My Bloody Valentine, Winterer One setting a new world record for "extremely dilated whispered litany" (the Holy Modal Rounders without the madcap brio), and Seed indulging in aimlessly loose garage jamming. But then there is a different album, a surreal parade of unrelated experiments that begins with the comic electronic novelty Rancher and swings wildly from the sunnier romantic jazzy instrumental interlude Mercury (just about the opposite of the first songs) to the relaxed lounge-y Caribbean jazz-soul Winterer Two. The eleven-minute The Flood is a different beast altogether, a concert for thick distorted droning instruments and raga-like percussion.

Mare (Olde English Spelling Bee, 2010) was en even more blatant display of the musical erudition of the artist, drawing from a wide range of cultures while boasting a much cleaner production. Unfortunately most of the songs are disposable. There is little to salvage in the laid-back country-rock Just Enough or the laid-back Santana-style soul-rock In New Jersey . There are good ideas but left unfinished: Stomper and Travelers are half-baked numbers that one would not be surprised to see resurface, heavily reworked, in future recordings. By comparison, the slightly more lively and entertaining Ears and the humble vignette of vintage instrumental music A Day At The Racetrack are towering compositions (but they would have been left over from the previous album). The notable exception is The surreal wordless lullaby Ruth My Sister, by far the album's standout. This feels more like a transitional EP than the well-designed continuation of a serious project.

The slightly more professional songs of Terra (Underwater Peoples, 2011) marked half a return to form, but not quite. The sax-tinged Terra opens in romantic, contemplative, jazzy Oregon-ian mode, altough the rest of the song is a casual unpretentious shuffle. There are other songs that open with a few seconds of instrumental charm (best is the neoclassical harpsichord-like keyboards of Canopy) but none makes much of an impact. His instrumental music is generally more interesting, including his ventures into ambient music (the suspenseful droning meditation of Ground) and minimalist repetition (the hypnotic On Eastern Time). The bedroom psychelidec litanies are no longer his forte (Back pales in comparison with the otherworldly gems of the first album).

Lines (2013) capitalized on the facile songs like Going and the whispered lounge-oriented ballad Carios Kelleyi I, but the artistic highlights were rather hidden in the dense arrangements of Yawning (a less melodramatic Robert Wyatt and one of his best songs yet), Horse Chestnut and the eight-minute closer Shadow.

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(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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