♫♪  Moon Bros - Frijolillo

A previously digital-only full-length effort from Chicago project Moon Bros (guitarist Matt Schneider) entitled Frijolillo gets a second chance to quietly split open your dome thanks to a small run cassette edition on Haley Fohr’s L&L Records. A local fixture in the overlapped folk, improv, and jazz scenes, Schneider’s recordings capture his improbably dense bursts of fingerpicking dusted with upper-register licks that escape in flashes between the tumblings of the lower strings. Flamenco-esque tremolo runs weave through lattices of arpeggiated activity, abutting half-time passages of elegant melody that channel the blues, ragtime, and Takoma traditions. Schneider’s song structures seem so loose and spontaneous that they must, you think, be improvised, while the dexterity and effortless lyricism of his playing attests to untold hours of woodshedding, to the point that such tossed off virtuosity has become his standard.

Opener “By Some Grace” pairs the continual churn of Schneider’s inspired six-string and harmonica exploration with diegetic flourishes of police sirens, chimes, and birds captured in his recording. If this track and “First She Whispered (She Sang), Then She Danced” stretch into fugue state rituals by way of their long-form meanderings, the miniature blitzes of “o-t-r,” “dropout,” and “Reed’s Castle” cram enough notes into their tiny durations to choke a horse accustomed to, say, the more reasonably tempo-ed finger style neo-baroque of Glenn Jones or Daniel Bachman. On “pistil,” Schneider switches to electric and squeezes tinny tones out of his amp to yield a standing hiss over the session that quavers under the intensifying weight of his improvisation. Late in the album, the low-key stunner “Juarez” pares down the pyrotechnics in favor of a gorgeous rubato zone charged with yearning melodies and spiraling chordal runs. The marked differences in recording quality between these tracks imbue each session with a distinct time stamp and atmosphere, enlisting the physical reality of his tracking site as an active collaborator in his creative process.

Frijolillo is available to order now from L&L Records.

• L&L Records: http://www.circuitdesyeux.net/ll-records.html

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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