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Carl Weingarten — Living in the Distant Present
(Multiphase Records CW-C004, 1985/2000, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2000-10-01

Living in the Distant Present Cover art

Although there is Windfalls, a collaboration with Gale Ormiston that pre-dates this by a couple years, this is Weingarten’s first solo album — heretofore available only on cassette — and sets the tone for much that would come later. Using guitars, slide, synths, loops, delays, and a lot of processing, he achieves a sound that fuses spacious soundscapes into melodic form, floating freely across the planes of the subconscious. Understated melodies float in a sea of loops and cloudlike synth washes, drifting between poles of sonic bliss. While some comparisons might be made to Fripp and Eno’s pioneering Evening Star — no doubt an influence, much of the material on Weingarten’s debut is more ambient and a bit less cyclically repetitive, building more on stratospheric guitar tones fed through the processor loop, and hence it has a certain driving melodic core at its very foundation. Yet all this is done without the interference of any percussive elements. Each of the twelve tracks herein is a concise statement unto its own, with its own unique mood and direction, and with the exception of “Dreaming in Colors,” typically hold the line at 3-5 minutes each. Fans of soaring ambient guitars and the pioneering Frippertronic / Fripp and Eno works would do well to check this one out. Recommended.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 20, 2000 releases, 1985 recordings

Related artist(s): Carl Weingarten

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