The Azusa Plane

America Is Dreaming of Universal String Theory

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The Azusa Plane's second full album -- a double-disc monster -- steers away from the serene float of Tycho Magnetic for a rougher but no less intoxicating combination of drone power and avant-psychedelia. Jason DiEmilio is joined by Jason Knight on some tracks, while live drummer Quentin Stoltzfus fills in on one song -- the powerful, slow-paced crunch jam of "Strings 3" (DiEmilio otherwise mostly does what percussion there is himself). The results parallel the abrasive bliss of the live Plane experience, which consists of cranking the amps as much as it does playing haunting, minimal melodies and otherwise steering clear of the pop experience. The opening number, "Strings 1," sets the basic stage well enough with a solo DiEmilio performance on guitar that relies on a key repeated melody or two but is more about the deep tonal flow he conjures out of the feedback. This is unsurprising given that he's credited with both guitars and amps on the record. Other songs more understandably recall the isolationist chill of Tycho Magnetic, such as the cyclical low rumble of "Strings 5" and the Peter Jefferies/Jono Lonie-inspired "Strings 6," a mix of distant keyboard notes and more upfront feedback and pulses. If there's a standout piece, it would have to be the lengthy "Strings 2." It begins with a quiet drone before the effects pedals kick in (about three minutes in) to add more layers of reverb. This then shifts to acoustic guitar, though deep in the background, crackle and fuzz slowly build like distant thunder before switching to hammered dulcimer. A return to electric guitar (this time actually playing notes) is then followed by pure amp hum and heavily treated feedback, a blasted and beautiful soundscape, and finally concludes with some gentle guitar melodies buried in the murk.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
8:17
2
21:00
3
7:37
4
9:27
5
7:11
6
8:30

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
24:40
2
27:56
3
8:29
blue highlight denotes track pick