David Daniell / Douglas McCombs

Versions

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To a certain extent (despite press notice to the slight contrary), Versions is a remix/live companion album, with its studio section being built from the same sessions that produced the guitarists' Sycamore. In this case, Tortoise veteran Ken Brown got the nod to do the remixing of David Daniell and Douglas McCombs' work -- but a dance or ambient revamp this isn't, as might be guessed. If anything, Brown turns the Versions material, drawing on both released and unreleased sections from the original sessions, into something closer to harsher rock at points, but on balance the various tracks turn into a series of tense counterpoints between loud and soft, always with an eye toward careful flow that transforms the material into slow evolutions. A song like "Ley Lines" kicks in with frazzled bright distortion and static shudder, not to mention what sounds like distant signals and frayed rhythm loops beneath the chaos only just heard. With gentle percussion rising through the murk transforming into a steady lope and crackle of beats and backing tones -- plus what could almost be surf guitar! -- it's quite a fun end result. "30265" finds a more even space, still tripped and zoned but gracefully so, with almost a hint of Roy Montgomery's late-'90s work yet with something more distinct, the layered guitars creating a strong interplay. Meanwhile, "Rialto" begins with near Morse code guitars but slowly turns into a rich, beautiful zone float, like a slow wave that just keeps flowing. The two live tracks consist of sections from two separate improvisational sets: "Knoxville" does the quiet drone thing at the start, a little float, murmur, and feedback stutter/tone, followed by a gentle arcing up of drums and a slow-burn open-ended riff. "Montreal" is a much quieter effort in contrast, but one that similarly stretches and builds, with some beautiful intense epic melancholy to the scraggly tone.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
12:03
2
9:42
3
6:37
4
15:24

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
15:53
2
20:12
blue highlight denotes track pick