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Carl Weingarten — Stop Me Try
(Multiphase Records MP-CD125, 2022, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-03-25

Stop Me Try Cover art

After Weingarten’s previous album, Ember Days, one certainly wouldn’t expect what we have here, but then again one can never accurately predict the trajectory of this Bay Area guitarist / multi-instrumentalist / composer. There might be some tie-ins to previous works, but this one is really different, and only after a number of listens will you realize that this, although very different, does connect well with his previous releases, though it presents a very fresh approach. Stop Me Try contains only five songs, but all five break the six-minute mark, a cople coming very near to seven, for a total time of a little over 32 minutes. Many of his trademarks are there — the resonator guitar, his skillful e-bow work, sideman Michael Manring’s instantly recognizable fretless bass — but those elements are all mixed in with an abundance of new software-based sounds and production, including strings, synths, keyboards, programmed percussion, and much more. The infectious Middle-Eastern flavored melody on the opener “A Fistful of Dust” is almost entirely built up from software strings, and the song features little guitar, at least nothing prominent; the percussives shuffle along with a mix of bells, gongs, and drums, with sort of an acid jazz feel, a thread that we hear throughout the album. With the exception of Manring’s bass, all of the sounds on the album were created by Weingarten, either with instruments or using software tools. Guitar assumes a much more prominent role as both lead and backing instrument on the second track, “Ides of May,” where we hear beatiful and fluid solo work against the backdrop of laid-back percussion, bass and software sounds, merging the best elements of his past work with the current trajectory. There’s even a very short bit of King Crimson’s “Starless” in one of the solos, although that may just be an accidental juxtaposition of the same six notes, things like that can happen. “Night Life Again” starts out with a brilliant introduction with Manring double-tracking a lead over his funky bottom end, before the guitar comes in and takes it away to more familiar territory, and with the exception of some electronic flourishes one might hear along with the percussion, this is probably the most similar in style to any of Weingarten’s previous work. The title track arrives at the end of the program, with a very laid back funky feel and strong hints of acid jazz, both bass and guitar fitting right into the concept. Any way one looks at it, Stop Me Try is a bold step forward for Weingarten’s creative muse.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Michael Manring, Carl Weingarten

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