Craig Padilla & Marvin Allen: Strange Gravity (Spotted Peccary, 2021)

January 22, 2021 at 7:15 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Craig Padilla & Marvin Allen: Strange Gravity

Synth explorer Craig Padilla and guitarist Marvin Allen return for a sequel to their 2019 collaboration, presenting an album of lengthy pieces which reflect on the strangeness of our journey through life and the quest for friendship and compassion. Like their first album, this one mixes deep space synths (and Allen’s homemade theremin!) with spacious guitar melodies worthy of Steve Hillage or David Gilmour. There’s some longer suites here that head in a few different nebulas, particularly opener “Strange Gravity” and closer “All Around Us”, but there’s also the System 7-style techno of “The Revelation”, sort of a continuation of the more beat-driven side of their debut. “Friendship” starts off contemplative before a beatbox rhythm drifts in and it ends up turning into a sort of smoothed-out synth-funk groove for a minute. Then after some cosmic mist, an entirely different slow rhythm emerges before the track draws to a close. The duo keep things moving in different directions instead of just focusing on one idea and zoning out, and it keeps their work fresh and unpredictable.

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