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(49:17, Might Could)
TRACK LIST: 1. Dance of the Wildfires 5:50 2. Not Every Sequel Finds a Name 8:24 3. River of Crows 4:52 4. Synecdoche 7:35 5. Lagrimas de Cera 2:58 6. Vietato Fumare 4:07 7. Malice 6:05 8. All the Remains 9:26 LINEUP: Andy Tillotson ac. guitar Aaron Geller ac. guitar Tim McCaskey ac. guitar Luis Nasser bass
Prolusion. Originally a duo formed in Maryland, USA, in the year 2000, MIGHT COULD has since 2003 been a quartet consisting of three guitar players and one bass player. Over the last few years the members of the band have become more spread out geographically, but still manage to produce music collectively. "Wood Knot" is the band's third album, following this one.
Analysis. Doing research on this band before listening to their music was an educational experience, and when comparing their list of influences to the music on this album many listeners will end up rather dazed and confused. Metallica, Dream Theater, King Crimson all these are bands with a more or less guitar-dominated sound, some with distinct heavy metal touches, others with quirky, offbeat and experimental leanings. But as the first tune ends and the second begins and the music on this CD still continues being one consisting of acoustic guitar dominated stuff I had to check if the CD in the player is the correct one it is time to start thinking. Usually I am used to, when an artist names another artist as an influence, expecting that the former will have some characteristics of that influence carried over in their music, and in most cases that there are similarities in sound or style. In this case, though, the similarities are to be found in a slightly more subtle aspect of the music instrumental usage and compositional structure. The compositions on this album are progressive in build-up and execution; most songs have several distinct segments with a noticeable change in pace, style and sound evolving from start to finish. The changes aren't random, but come across as highly planned, and the individual tunes all have a unique identity that separates each from one another. There is no change for the sake of change nor there is a change of style in a random manner. These songs are well written and well performed with a purpose. The performance is good too, and behind the gentle sound of the layered acoustic guitars a subtle world of nuances and technically challenging playing resides. Melody lines, where all three guitarists contribute, starting with one guitar underscoring the main melodic provider with dominating licks, building up to the tones delivered by the second guitar delivering the set musical foundation, and then the third guitar picking up from those licks to convey the final notes making up the melody as a whole. The above is an approach used a few times on this release, and one that at least for me sounds impressive. Another approach used is probably more conventional, but yields impressive results nonetheless. In this case one guitar conveys the central melody line, and the other guitars provide details in the arrangement, adding notes here, licks there, a small melody segment when needed basically adding life, texture and detail to the soundscape. With quite a few variations to this basic pattern, of course, guitars switching roles during the course of a tune, harmony playing, having two guitars providing the central melody and one adding details, slight wanderings of an underscoring guitar all these elements to be found on this release. The bass guitar basically adds some grit and darkness to the tunes, underscores and at times builds atmospheres, and adds to the rhythmical part of the songs too, rarely dominating, but helping to add the tension and atmosphere needed to keep a piece interesting. And when listening closely, the stated influences of the band can indeed be heard. It's subtle: the difference in sound between acoustic guitars and distorted, electric guitars sees to it that the similarities aren't obvious. But seek and you shall find. All the pieces come across as strong, and certainly above average in terms of performance as well as containing fascinating elements and intriguing melodies, with some moments of pure brilliance.
Conclusion. "Wood Knot" is a release for a select audience; an entire album of instrumental, acoustic guitar-based music isn't likely to have a wide appeal. But those into this kind of music should find this album enjoyable, and fans of progressive, be it rock or metal, might want to check this one out if they want to get more familiar with how their favorite music is structured and composed.
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