A Closer Listen.
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
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.