Reviewers can be a funny bunch. We’re not omniscient but there are times when we pretend to be. For example, there’s nothing like writing ‘This album is good, but it doesn’t compare to the B-side of their second single which was released in a limited quantity of seven – one for each member of the band, and three for me’, or something like it, as a virtual badge of honour. We know more than you, supposedly, and we’re going to do our best to demonstrate the fact.
Where this practice falls down, as it must, is when a promo copy arrives on the desk, and your scribe believes it to be a debut work, on the grounds that he’s never heard of the artist in question before. And then discovers an extensive back catalogue of some 25 albums. It’s a position that even the most skilled bluffers would have difficulty getting out of, so let’s not bother. Egg, meet face. Readers, meet Black Eagle Child.
Go Around, Again is a hymn to the joys of loops, cycles and repetition; once Michael Jantz (for he is Black Eagle Child) has found a beat or riff he likes, he is quite happy to use it as the basis of a track that lasts anything up to fifteen minutes in duration. Yet, the pieces themselves don’t feel repetitive, for Jantz is more than happy to throw in an abrupt edit, or the sound of a guitar neck being throttled in order to break out of the patterns. The opener “Sun Cylinder” continually shifts across its running time, starting off as an acoustic guitar study but being overwhelmed by electronic burbles by the end. It’s an outstanding piece, comparable to some of Jim O’Rourke’s finest moments in the way it constantly changes and subverts one’s notion of repetition – if you’ve been pacing the room nervously, waiting for Jim to deliver a new record, then Go Around, Again is definitely worth investigating just for this piece.
The remaining three tracks are no slouches either – Jantz proves a dab hand with using found sound and field recordings as well to provide a little extra texture here and there (a child’s laugh, metal scraped upon metal) and there’s almost always a tangential twist thrown into his compositions to make them less obvious and much more interesting. Where all this sits in Black Eagle Child’s extensive discography will remain a mystery for now – how Go Around, Again shapes up next to his previous album is kind of irrelevant. It can quite happily stand on its own, as a supremely accomplished work. (Jeremy Bye)