Clint Heidorn ~ Pasadena

Six years have passed since Clint Heidorn last issued an album, sending some copies out in wooden boxes and burying others around the Salton Sea.  No such bonuses are available this time, just a lovely piece of vinyl with a retro-looking inner label.  Still the artist’s connection to the land remains evident, found in the home-spun nature of the tunes and the overall warmth of the recording.  It’s not unusual for someone in L.A. to yearn for the wide open spaces; Heidorn wistfully transmits this yearning to his music.

This doesn’t sound like L.A., or even what we think the city might sound like ~ in contrast to the city’s pace, the album is calm, at times even pensive.  A light jazz flair in apparent in the saxophone of the opening track, but the primary feel is one of post-rock, breaking through with the drums at exactly 2:30.  And there’s the artist (or so we assume) on the cover, standing alone under the light of a streetlamp in what may be a local park ~ perhaps the only place to imagine one is in the wild when one lives in the city of stars.  The stringed “Coyote’s Lament” even seems resentful at the end, seeing a single tree where once there was a forest.

There’s beauty in disarray: electric guitars surge against organic instruments, exposing a rift in the soul.  The titles speak of different areas: the triumphant “White Oak” (echoing the oak leaves of the last release) set against the melancholy of “Palm Nocturne”.  Where is home?  Is home simply a place, or is it a place in the heart?  Can one have more than one home?  The theme, a common subject of André Aciman, now shifts from the page to the groove.  There’s no reconciliation to be found here, only an effort to form a bridge.  The track of the same name ends in dissonance, while the next begins in a murmuration, itself a symbol of migration.  By the end, the artist seems to have found peace with himself, wherever he lays his hat.  (Richard Allen)

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