Barlow/Petersen/Wivinus - "s/t"
(Asymmetry/Stick It to the Man Records 2000, Asym-1/Stick-003, 2000)
From Aural Innovations #14 (January 2001)
First of all, only 100 copies of this were pressed, so who knows if you can even still get one. Also, these are recordings from a rehearsal, which shows in the sound-quality, though the murky sound definitely works with the style of music anyway, so don't let that stop you from anything. There are ten tracks, all improvised by Rich Barlow (The Pins) on electric 12-string guitar and e-bow, Jesse Petersen on electric 6-string guitar and Erik Wivinus (Skye Klad/Salamander/Gentle Tasaday) on custom acoustic quadrone... whatever that is. No percussion, just long and slow guitar-psyche jams. Some band references can definitely be attributed to Mirza and SubArachnoid Space, though these guys rarely get as intense or noisy. Most of the pieces are low-key guitar meandering out of which arise some splendid lead-guitar melodies. The more rhythmic parts don't always hold my attention, but this album at the very least must be recommended for those definitely beautiful and inspiring lead-guitar moments previously mentioned.
The first stand-out of the longer pieces is "Rainstorm", which weaves numerous beautiful movements in one long, moody come-down session, perhaps the best track on the album. "Skirt the Deep" also keeps the surprises coming at a consistent pace. "Dervish" gets into some rare fast-ish riffing before coming to a fantastic smiling lead-melody, though perhaps this piece should have ended here. A main highlight of the album is the lead echo-wah lullaby that arises out of "River Godot" and some nice wind-down riffing towards the end, though perhaps some parts of this lengthy track could have been edited out to make it a stronger and more compact piece. But for sure, if my mind tends to wander, these tracks wake me back up often enough with something really great. And some of the shorter pieces are worthwhile as well. This is one of those albums that I wish I had several months to hang out with before having to lay down the definitive ink, as it's still landing new goosebumps on me this very second. If they're out of copies, have someone make you a copy or ask the group if they'd mind running a second pressing!
You can email Barlow/Petersen/Wivinus at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit them at The Pins web site. Phone: 612-872-8354.
Contact via snail mail c/o Stick It To The Man Records; PO Box 8475; Minneapolis, MN 55408.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg