P.G. Six
(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Tower Recordings: Rehearsals For Roseland (1995), 6/10
Tower Recordings: The Fraternity of Moonwalkers (1996), 6/10
Tower Recordings: Furniture Music For Evening Shuttles (1998), 6.5/10
Tower Recordings: Folk Scene (2001), 5/10
Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites (2001), 6.5/10
The Well of Memory (2004), 6/10
Tower Recordings: The Galaxies (2004), 6/10
MV & EE: The Mother Of Thousands (2006), 5/10
Music From The Sherman Box Series (2006), 6/10
Slightly Sorry (2007) , 5/10
Starry Mind (2011), 5/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Many groups of the turn of the millennium turned to the Incredible String Band for inspiration. The New York-based Tower Recordings collective (Matt Valentine, Pat Gubler, Helen Rush, Tim Barnes, Dean Roberts and many others) works with "pagan" folk and psychedelic music. They released Rehearsals For Roseland (Superlux, 1995), The Fraternity of Moonwalkers (Audible Hiss, 1996), Furniture Music For Evening Shuttles (Siltbreeze, 1998), which is possibly their most inventive work, and Folk Scene (Communion, 2001), way too fragmented (22 songs).

Let The Cosmos Ring (spirit of Orr) was released under the moniker Planet TR. Futuristic Folk (Child of Microtones, 1999), I Burned One With God (Child of Microtones, 2000) and Fantastic String Music (Child of Microtones, 2003) were issued in only 99 copies. Tonight One Night Only (Time-Lag) Unfortunately, the vast majority of their recordings are mediocre at best and overcrowded with filler. If they had consolidated their best compositions on only one album, it would have been a masterpiece. As it stands, their discography is a commercial sell-out of little artistic value.

P.G. Six is the more or less solo project of Pat Gubler, that pursues a kind of progressive folk music akin to both Incredible String Band's psychedelic folk and John Fahey's raga-folk, although enhanced with both electronic and natural sounds. Inaugurated with the adventurous single Book of Rayguns (Lux, 1995), worthy of Glenn Branca's chamber music, P.G. Six blossomed on Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites (Amish, 2001), with majestically loose abstractions such as The Divine Invasion, Unteleported Man, The Shepherd, Letter to Lilli St Cyr, Quiet Fan for SK, The Fallen Leaves that Jewel The Ground.

The Well of Memory (Amish, 2004) displays a more varied use of instrumentation to embellish Gubler's eerie skeletal lullabies. The six-minute instrumental Well Of Memory Part 1 sounds more similar to atonal chamber music than to folk music. Well Of Memory Part 2 is, instead, a concerto for droning strings. These two experimental pieces are hardly related to the songs of the album. After a lengthy guitar solo, Crooked Way finally materializes as a pastoral lullaby, but the vocalist hardly makes an effort to be anything more than a dreamier version of Donovan. The flute-driven Three Stages of A Band sounds like a variation on Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven. The rest of the album are either brief fragments of music or arranged traditionals. Not much to write about.

The Tower Recordings returned with The Galaxies' Incredible Sensual Transmission Field (Communion, 2004). The chaos of Folk Scene is used to more interesting purposes, not so much to create snippets of music, but to animate and derail pieces that are more organic and cohesive, such as Harvester.

Matt Valentine's solo Creek To Creation (2005) contains the lengthy raga Ring Of Yod. Ragas & Blues (Idea, 2005) is a collaboration between him and Erika Elder.

Matt Valentine, Alex Nielson and Erika Elder recorded an album of lengthy psychedelic jams, Valentine/ Elder/ Nielson (Qbico, 2006).

MV & EE (Matt Valentine and Erika Elder) With The Bummer Road (Mo' Jiggs, Sparrow Wildchild, Nemo Bidstrup, Tim Barnes and Samara Lubelski) were documented only on CD-Rs such as We Offer You Guru (Child Of Microtones, 2005) before releasing the double-LP The Mother Of Thousands (2006), half of which is devoted to blues covers, Green Blues (Ecstatic Peace!, 2007), and Gettin' Gone (Ecstatic Peace, 2007).

The all-instrumental Music From The Sherman Box Series & Other Works (Amish, 2006) collects P.G.Six/ Pat Gulber's chamber music in assorted configurations (mostly including his harp), all of them originally intended for a multimedia installation: For Prepared Wire Strung Harp With Tremolo Pedal, For Two Bray Harps, and especially the 12-minute The Book Of Rayguns for six electric guitars, that was his debut 1995 single.

P.G.Six's Slightly Sorry (Drag City, 2007), full of trite ballads and lacking even the slightest ambition of originality, is an example of how trivial the imitators of Richard Thompson, Fairport Convention, Pentangle and Incredible String Band can sound compared with the originals. Pat Gubler plays guitar, hurdy-gurdy, flute, electric piano, clavinet, organ, mellotron, bass. He and four others take turns at singing. Three friends provide additional piano, guitar, bass and percussion.

On Drone Trailer (Dicristina Stair, 2009) MV & EE conjured the ghost of the angry/psychedelic Neil Young with the Golden Road: Doc Dunn (pedal steel, guitar, harmony), Mike Smith (bass, fender rhodes, harmony), and James Anderson (drums, engineer). MV & EE opted again for a neurotic electric sound on Barn Nova (Ecstatic Peace, 2009), but then foundered in the monotone molasses of Space Homestead (2012).

P.G.Six injected a bit of life (and electrical instruments) into Starry Mind (2011), but the attitude was still too laid-back and unassuming to change what was a rather monotonous trip.

(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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