To the Firmament [LP; Drawing Room]

It has been 8 years since Michael Gibbons has graced us with a full-length work from his 500mg pseudonym. As the myth and power of Bardo Pond has grown in that time, it’s fair to say Gibbons’ previous album, Apocatastisis, has been less rewarded. Which is a shame, as it’s a wonderful example of how talented the brothers Gibbons are, even if it’s just through Michael’s solitary prism. But we return nigh a decade later to an even richer tapestry of ideas and sounds with To the Firmament. Suite 1 is a modest revisit of the past. “Seven Eyes” and “The Smoke Inside Me” speak to Gibbons’ past solo outings, but deviations in sound and technique occur. “Red Eyed Howler” is a scaled down version of Bardo Pond electricity.”Qumram” is an elegant composition that has an “I’m Your Captain” classic rock majesty surrounding it, yet this lead-off to Suite 2 is hardly an indicator of what to expect on the back half of To the Firmament. The combo of “Kesaubo” and Sister Morphine” are an amalgamation of all Gibbons’ work, and yet have a particular style or grace in their jagged rock authenticity that makes them somehow unfamiliar. And it’s how To the Firmament makes its lasting impression. It eviscerates the turntable, blows out the speakers, and yet in the static wall it also speaks softly, a simple statement of intent with “Trying to Get There.” It’s where we’re all trying to go, and in 8 years Gibbons found it somehow — even if it’s just in the 40 minutes of this record.

Links: Drawing Room


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