Tara Key / Rick Rizzo

Double Star

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A decade ago, guitarists Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day) and Tara Key (Antietam) issued the near symbiotic collaboration Dark Edson Tiger. The duo sent taped ideas back and forth between Chicago and New York. Textural elements were added later and the end result was a bona fide aesthetic success. After a few well-received appearances on the road, the pair went their separate ways: Eleventh Dream Day released Zeroes and Ones, while Antietam released Victory Park and Opus Mixtum. That said, the roots of Double Star were sown in a studio in the immediate aftermath of Dark Edson Tiger, where the pair was joined by bassist Tim Harris. In the ensuing years, electronic files would replace tapes and intermittently be exchanged between the pair; Rizzo would visit New York yearly for extended facetime work. Double Star is the logical extension of DET texturally, sonically, and musically. With intermittent drums by Josh Clark, strings, loops, and occasional keyboards, Rizzo and Key communicate their respective growth as musicians to one another and to listeners. The shimmering rock of "Interruptive Organ" opens the record with a strolling bassline, tight snare, and hypnotic acoustic guitars playing through a series of changes. A sampled organ enters and accents the ends of lines with jagged codas; its sound is eventually distorted into something almost unrecognizable as the guitars build toward a transcendent crescendo before fading into silence. The extended harmonic palette in "Rizzo Starts," the spacy, slow development of "Roundabout Ways," and the gorgeous hypnotic minimalism of "Loop 2" all offer different hearings in musical and textural dynamics that are dressed in gentle articulations of phrasing, ambience, and composition. The album's more physical pieces, such as the fuzz-drenched guitars, bass, and drum psych of "Insanity Stomp" represent the best of what brings each player to the table not only in this unit, but in her/his respective bands as well. The contrast of acoustic and electric guitars in "Hungry" reveals the lyrical depth the two guitarists can plumb when pointedly focused. Double Star is an intricately constructed, multivalently layered beauty; it quietly dazzles in both design and execution with grace and elegance that sounds deceptively effortless.

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