Ignore, for a moment, the fact that Texas and Arizona are two of the most politically backward states in the country right now. Just consider the landscape — the geography — of the Southwestern region of the United States. Oppressive desert conditions give way to some of the most poisonous species in the country. When it isn’t unbearably hot and dry, severe thunderstorms reinforce the notion of an unforgiving climate. In between the distantly placed cities, desolation runs rampant over the taupe and barely traversable surface. Also, “cowboys.” The image of the American Southwest isn’t an inherently attractive one, but that doesn’t mean that it’s without a story worth telling.
Guitarist Evan Caminiti, both solo and as one-half of Barn Owl, has made a career out of communicating, intentionally or not, the region’s less pleasant side. His reverberant strumming and content, synth-based ambience stands in the same tonal arena as a Cormac McCarthy novel — which is to say, somewhere between ominous and hopeful. Night Dust follow-up Dreamless Sleep, due August 21 on Thrill Jockey, reportedly continues that trend, but with a particular thematic emphasis on “the way our memory changes events in the past and how our surroundings define us.”
According to Caminiti himself, he completed a “a kind of rough draft” of the album in the spring of 2011, only to promptly forget about it for 10 months, preoccupied as he was with touring. When he finally did return home to San Francisco, he “approached the material in a completely different way, changed by a year of travel and new challenges. It was deconstructed and reformed into a different album than what it had once been…” The end result is an album that is in “constant flux between light and dark, from dirge like crawls to uplifting choral harmonies, creating a narrative unlike anything Caminiti has offered before.” Forget August. I’ll take my emotional whiplash now, please.
Dreamless Sleep tracklisting:
01. Leaving the Island
02. Bright Midnight
04. Fading Dawn
06. Veiled Prayers
07. Becoming Pure Light