I can already tell I’m going to have one hell of a time putting my “best of 2003” list together at the end of the year. Just when I think I have all the albums in my list perfectly organized, an album like Part One: Aguirre Returns hits my desk and begs for a spot in my soon-to-be outdated list. But, if you know me, you’ll know that I always invite these types of requests.
When I received my promotional copy of this album, there was something about it that told me I was going to like it well before I put it in the player. It comes in very nice cardboard sleeve that’s somewhat reminiscent of Constellation Records’ detailed work and has some very nice seventies-psych artwork. Plus, after seeing the number of promo discs I’ve seen, you start to get a pretty good feeling about certain albums prior to digging into them.
Needless to say, my assumptions of Alexander McGregor’s album were accurate. The album is all over the map of folk and lo-fi psychedelic rock and is surprisingly great considering the number of artists who are doing what he’s doing. On the song “Nothing Wrong,” I have this undying need to compare it to my favorite movie, Buffalo ’66. McGregor’s voice even begs comparison to Gallo himself on the song. “Rise of All the Cities,” however, shows McGregor sounding oddly familiar to Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. Although these comparisons may seem blatant, I will tell you that the album is still very fresh and original.
Part One: Aguirre Returns is a nice little find. It’s very refreshing for me, too, because I’ve been listening to a lot of abstract electronic music for the past several months. I’ve always appreciated the organic qualities of lo-fi acoustic recordings, as it usually highlights a solo artist who is capable of making music in a way that doesn’t require the help of other musicians. I suppose with the right kind of exposure, this Bostonian will find his way in to the ranks with the other aforementioned artists.
2. No Nine
3. White Caribou
5. Nothing Wrong
6. Rise of All the Cities
8. Mi Querida
10. Making Movies