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Vocalist Ann Dyer pares away all the nonessentials and rides a subtle but inexorable tidal flow into a search for interior truths on When I Close My Eyes. The sound is spare, poetic, and haunting, the singer accompanied by just accoustic bass and drums for explorations of the darker levels of consciousness. The mood throughout feels brooding and ethereal, sometimes drone-like, a pensive expansion. Dyer's voice has a feather softness, bringing to mind Margo Timmons of the Cowboy Junkies – and like The Trinity Session, that group's marvelous and unpretentious first album, When I Close My Eyes sounds ageless.
The disc contains several Dyer originals, with the haunting "Underworld" a highlight. And also included are Dan Hicks' "I Scare Myself" and Björk's "Bachelorette." The music radiates a low-key, dark-hued, atmospheric artistic vision, creating a mood like Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, or the The Trinity Sessions. It's a hypnotic experience that caresses and beguiles, a remarkably assured piece of musical artistry.
The bonus track, "Thirsty (Underworld Reprise Remix)," features the inimitable Chico Hamilton (81 years young) percussing and singing, as well as Rob Berger of The Tin Hat Trio joining the songstress, taking things into a groove.
Dyer's last disc, Revolver: A New Spin (Premonition, 1999), was a deep meditation on the classic Beatles album; When I Close My Eyes reaffirms her status as a consumate artist who delves deeply, without posturing of affectations, into her visions.
Track Listing: 1. Mermaid,
2. I Scare Myself,
6. New England Cowboy,
7. The Official Story,
9. One Rupi, One Roti,
10. The Felon,
11. She Dreams (Will O' The Wisp),
12. When I Close My Eyes (Theater Piece),
13. Thirsty (Underworld Reprise Remix)
Personnel: Chico Hamilton - Drums,
Sergio Brandao - Bass,
Ann Dyer - Vocals, Tanpura,
Jason Lewis - Drums,
Rob Burger - Accordion,
Liberty Ellman - Guitar
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...