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Night Gallery
Thrill Jockey
Format: CD / LP / Digital
Release Date: July 19, 2011
By Dave Cantor July 19, 2011

Cameron Stallones, as Sun Araw, frequently finds himself being congratulated on the new age of psych that he’s currently ushering towards a wider and wider audience. Without exception, comparisons to Kraut workouts, minimal synthesizer explorations, and African rhythms insinuate their way into any discussion of the guy’s music. Each influence is irrefutable, but the accompanying future-past description of Sun Araw’s difficult to conceive of identity seems nonsensical. Or maybe lazy.

It’s arguable, but the creative mind’s task is to summon a representation of a moment in time, taking into consideration external situations and internal motives. Really, Stallones’ recordings with Sun Araw, Magic Lantern and now as collaborator with Portland’s Eternal Tapestry, boil down the torrents of Afro-funk compilations, reissued/collectible Krautrock albums, and all that keyboard/noisenik confusion the analog tape market’s flush with. No, none of those sounds are new. Neither are the combinations. But a guy from Los Angeles soldering all this together is unique. For the moment. In the moment.

Even with his non-stop record release schedule – another reflection on the times we’re all living in – Stallones is still situated pretty deep in the underground, working with the likes of Not Not Fun and Woodsist instead of larger, better known indies. So, it’s curious that Eternal Tapestry, another group not unfamiliar with issuing a steady stream of albums over a short period of time, found its way to Thrill Jockey for this year’s Beyond the 4th Door (released in March). Either way, the Northwesterners, while down at SXSW, met up with Stallones and decided to bring him on to play keys during a live performance for a local radio station. The result, Night Gallery, comes off as the proper middle ground between the two groups, even if the Sun Araw vibe pervades each of the four track’s opening mellow bits before climaxing.

Edited into four sections, each movement roughly follows the same dynamic: airy drones find themselves bolstered by kosmische percussion, there’s a wah-wah freeq-out after which the song trails off into the next one. Listeners even remotely familiar with either of these groups know what their getting into. But for the uninitiated, Night Gallery might serve as an acceptable point of entry to the West Coast’s current conception of minimal and contemporary psych. Good, if not great.

Visit: Eternal Tapestry | Sun Araw | Thrill Jockey
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