Tom Caufield — Things I Heard While in the Womb
((Not on label) no#, 2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-03-30
Caufield calls himself a contemplative guitarist, and for an idea as to what that means exactly, consider any of the three tracks on this disc, which is his sixth release (he has released three more since this one), but mainly the first “Waif Among The Reeds,” which features an extremely minimalist bottom end: one-two brush drums and a slow repeating bass line to accompany it, over its near 24 minute duration. The top end features Caufield’s acoustic guitar wanderings, which at first sounds like mere noodling improvisation but around the three minute mark it’s joined by organ, electric piano, and other keyboard sounds that support the composition impeccably, which is where the listener may first recognize the brilliance of the guitartistry at hand. This is ambient music overall, but not the guitar parts. Caufield engages us with some amazing spanish influenced picking and draws the listener in with beautiful melodies that ride the surface of this piece as it grows, slowly morphs, and develops with strong emotional beauty, looping back to recap previous ideas occasionally and repeat again with variation. Influences? I don’t know, perhaps Pierre Bensusan, Ralph Towner or William Ackerman are in evidence, but this doesn’t really sound like any of those guys; if this had come out in 1985 it would be right at home in Tower’s new-age section, where one could find all kinds of instrumental music from Mike Oldfield to Pekka Pohjola. By contrast, the second cut “Rubies On Fallen Leaves” is a mere four minutes, less minimalist and more explorative than the first, based on a subtle yet truly majestic guitar composition, supported by textural synths and other instruments, along with active studio effects. “Palace of Broken Mirrors” returns to the minimalist rhythm similar to “Waif..” but with keyboaards sharing the spotlight equally with guitars (and some effected electric guitars also this time), and support of what sounds like a string section, developing over the final eleven minutes of the album. Things I heard While In The Womb won’t challenge the senses or break any barriers, nor is it a showy display of instrumental virtuosity, instead simply restrained and beautiful, creating a soundworld that a listener can easily get lost within.
Related artist(s): Tom Caufield
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more