Mind Maintenance: s/t LP (Drag City, 2021)

September 13, 2021 at 7:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Mind Maintenance: s/t LP

Two longtime Chicago music scene figures who have occasionally made records together (for example, both were in Sticks and Stones, along with Matana Roberts), Chad Taylor and Joshua Abrams made their first album as the duo Mind Maintenance with a limited setup of traditional African instruments. Abrams plays the guimbri, a three-stringed skin-covered bass lute, and Taylor plays an mbira (thumb piano). Recorded and mixed by Cooper Crain, the instruments are upfront and unadorned, letting their natural vibrations ring out. Some of the tracks kind of bleed into each other, but there’s some exciting moments when the rhythms become complex and especially hypnotic, as on centerpiece “Valence”. Somehow the first time I listened to this, I felt like the first side went on forever, but listening to it again, each side goes by really quickly, and when they switch to a new piece, the shifts in rhythm make an audible impact, lifting the experience to a new level.

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