Juozas Milasius


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Lithuanian born electric improvising guitarist Juozas Milasius is a true diamond in the rough, a consistently compelling original whose heritage is not all that discernible in the type of jazz he plays. Far from Slavic, Balkan, European, or Middle Eastern in nature, in fact, Milasius will easily be compared and appreciated by fans of Bill Frisell. His lithe, sneaky, spacious music is more tinged by the cerebral twang that makes Frisell's music so compelling, and in that vein completely modern, even futuristic. Playing solo, Milasius patiently constructs layer upon layer of patient, somewhat dramatic, even grandiose music. It seems to sound live and in the moment with no overdubs, but a lot of looping and digital delay is used, and on only two tracks a P.C. is added to further enhance the broad strokes of counterpoint Milasius creates for himself. Starting with the careful, tonal, resonant "So Light," Milasius continues to develop these tracks as times goes on, with the strange but apropos title "Scalpel Sad," the lighthouse refracted, looped, and deeply organic "Icy," or the romping, spirited, upbeat "Rawhide"-type space cowboy theme "The Rowels of Spurs" adding stark contrasts. Where "Seasickness" reflects the tumbling waves of vertigo in a truly innovative sound, "Pawnshop Accountant" really ups the ante with a P.C., providing a much bigger sound in pondering, pulsing shimmers with rhythm in upper- or lower-case registers cuddling and cooing. Milasius adopts a technique not dissimilar to Frippertronics with the P.C. during "Kind," as the double meaning of the title is fully explored in a multi-layered fascination. "Spray Drift" seems more improvised on the spot, refractive and less processed, if only amplified, while "It's Rare Air Here" is again like Frisell via a breathing process, percussive in nature and very carefully constructed. In many ways, Milasius is a true wizard, in essence only scratching the surface of his potential to make new music that matters in the modern world. Slow comes easily recommended to those mavens of guitar heroes, but also for the challenged listener who wants to hear electric jazz guitar beyond the John Scofields and Charlie Hunters of the populist world.

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