Fans of Evan Caminiti have to be rejoicing. Not only has this fellow been exponentially prolific with each passing year, but his music is always operating on a high level. This year alone sees him releasing no less than three solo albums (one as Painted Caves), and while the knock on prolific artists is a thinning of quality, I just don’t hear that problem with Caminiti at all. Night Dust has been a long time in the making and occasionally highlights a new compositional direction (one that can be heard even more on his forthcoming Dreamless Sleep LP).
Anyone familiar with the stellar West Winds album would probably say, ‘Yeah, I could go for some more of that.’ Night Dust is here to grant your wish, though instead of a strictly guitar EFX driven record Caminiti has been tooling a lot more with synthesizers and analog manipulation. Isn’t the mantra: Once you go 4-track you never go back? Once Caminiti started committing music to this dusty-sounding medium, he became enthralled with re-animating the resulting deteriorations. Tape hiss and static are unofficial members of his one man band on Night Dust, a perfect marriage with his overnight, psychedelic seance.
“Near Dark” sets the stage well with a processed tide of analog rivulets combined with Caminiti’s signature amplifier worship, grand in sound and humble in execution. The blending of the synths and atmospheric guitars is usually seamless, as all the sounds share a timbre or quality. When a clear voice is heard it’s always a guitar, and it is no clearer than on “Moon is the Hunter” where Caminiti waxes poetic with a simple sounding electric axe over top the echo-laden landscape. And Caminiti doesn’t leave behind his deluge of guitar weather systems and other organic textures that make his work so engaging. A series of harmonics on “Returning Spirits” evokes fireflies’ lights in a sepia toned past. “Last Blue Moments” is a thunderhead, and while a synth is the table cloth tossed across the plain, the guitars blister the sky with a delicious mass of clouds as majestic as a lion’s mane.
As the track titles suggest, Night Dust is an ode to happenings after dark. In linear fashion, once darkness falls we have the returning spirits and nods to the stars, the moon, a harvest moon, memory, and the eventual, slow fade back to light. This album truly comes alive when the sun is down. That ache we feel as the deep night seems to go on endlessly is captured in the album’s middle and end. “First Light I” completes this feeling with an agonizingly mournful passage, white hot with distortion, muted through the analog re-tooling. When at last “First Light II” arrives our submission is complete. Sounding a bit like the work of Aaron Martin here, Caminiti lets the tape hiss ride as his lonely guitar swims in the warm waters of dawn. As if hitting a moment of clarity, this track reveals both a lament for the night’s passing and an optimism for the coming day. Night Dust succeeds wonderfully in its deep study of textures as well as its symmetrical replay value. It’s a lovely document that makes a case for dusk to come as soon as dawn arrives. (Nayt Keane)