Michael Potter ~ Rain Song

Don’t judge this tape by its cover; the music is much more placid than the art indicates.  Some may make a connection to King Ghidorah, also identified as the beast from Revelation; but this is more about rain than the end of the world.  We do like the image, though!

This was a rather frustrating evening; thunderstorms were predicted, yet never arrived.  I planned to review the tape while the storms raged outside.  Viewed from another angle, Michael Potter‘s extended piece is less about the storm than the impression of the storm; the sound of rain recedes in the first few minutes, and the live instruments are tasked with continuing the sonic reflection.  As Peter Cook (Already Dead Tapes) writes, “Potter has created a soundtrack to accompany the naturally existing free-form percussion that is rain.”

Light strumming and subtle tones indicate the approach of the front; one can sense the change in the air and smell the petrichor.  The early percussive taps are like the first fat drops on an air conditioner or hot tin roof: surprising, yet welcome.  Subtly changing guitar patterns mimic the undulations of damp sheets.  While one expects a deluge (blame the dragon), it never arrives.  The music reaches its pleasing peak with cymbal shimmers and guitar swirl.  The clouds pass to the east; the droplets shrink.  Potter replaces tiny melodies with tinier glissandos, pasting them atop one long drone.  The closing minutes are the most appealing: the calm after the storm, restive and secure. The cymbal switches allegiance from blue to yellow.  Bass notes become the new center, like sudden flashes of sun.  Even these give way to thinner, brighter extensions.

Perhaps it’s best that this review was written under the cover of stingy clouds.  When yearning for rain, Rain Song is a salve.  Compact and effective, the piece wraps back to its beginning, a reminder that the precipitation will return.  Until then, we can embrace this gentle hymn.  (Richard Allen)

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