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Wingfield - Reuter - Sirkis: Lighthouse

Glenn Astarita By

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Once again, the sky is the limit for these estimable artists who execute spontaneous compositions in the studio without any overdubs or heavy editing. It's largely about the musicians' synchronous game-plan and intuitive interactions during these resonating and impactful works, crossing genres or stylizations that lie somewhere between freeform progressive rock and jazz rock. Lighthouse follows up The Stone House (Moonjune, 2016), even though it was recorded first, and features the core trio of burgeoning guitar hero Mark Wingfield, Touch Bassist, Markus Reuter (Stick Men, Adrian Belew's Power Trio) and drummer, Asaf Sirkus (Tim Garland, The Inner Noise).

Saying that this band packs a punch would be an understatement. Coupled with the artistically inclined improvisational motifs, and a program that sparks vivid imagery, reinforced by the album cover art of the surf banging against an old seaside village, Wingfield's guitar voicings often cast foreboding intentions. Yet this is partially due to his punishing sustain-driven notes and devastating crunch chords. He also elicits a doomsday environ via his unorthodox phraseology, suggesting that voices from the netherworld are guiding his trajectory. Along with superspeed breakouts and reverse engineering implementations, the trio goes for the gusto from start to finish, throttling tempos and various sound-shaping spectrums on a per-track basis.

Reuter's clean licks and fluid Touch Guitar patterns lay down a forceful but pliant bottom end, complemented by Sirkus' slamming backbeats, polyrhythmic fills and textural cymbal swashes. On "Ghost Light," and other tracks, Wingfield uses reverb to emphasize otherworldly shadings while generating depth, and periodically summoning a divine interference of sorts. And his use of EFX to render stereo-like voicings is a tactic that adds a polytonal outline to these towering excursions.

The band tends to execute swerving soundscapes amid the highly energized and pummeling crescendos. For example, "Magnetic," is an intensifying opus, complete with the guitarist's curvy extended notes and animated inner-workings atop the drummer's bristling rhythmic cavalcades and up-tempo grooves. The final track "Surge," is devised with Wingfield's intricate picking above a thrusting rock pulse. Here, Sirkis and Reuter act like pressurizers, driving the events into a frantic race toward the finish line. Hence, a fitting conclusion for a band that imparts a series of imaginative and emotively concocted narratives, woven into a torrential stream of cunning improvisational discourses.

Track Listing: Zinc; Derecho; Ghost Light; Magnetic; A Hand in the Dark; Transverse Wave; Surge.

Personnel: Mark Wingfield: guitar; Markus Reuter: Touch Guitars® AU8; Asaf Sirkis: drums.

Title: Lighthouse | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: MoonJune Records

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