Captain Onboard

Captain Onboard

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Captain Onboard Review

by Mark Richardson

Having spent his career as a sideman for the likes of Orso, Swans, and Out in Worship, guitarist Joe Goldring struck out on his own in 2000 as Captain Onboard. On his debut, Goldring's aesthetic fits very well with his Perishable labelmates, as shards of damaged folk, industrial, and film music are soldered together into a rickety noise machine. It's the perfect accompaniment to a rainy afternoon in the city, with long instrumental tracks that patiently unfold to reveal layers of sonic detail. The impressionistic "Picnic" gets a surprising amount of emotional mileage from a repeating piano figure, bits of slide acoustic, and subtle guitar feedback. "Probe" has a murky, subaquatic atmosphere, with sound effects that seem sampled from the cockpit of a submarine and a distorted vocal fragment that could be the shriek of a drowning man. The bassline to "Arms" resembles AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," but Captain Onboard's longest track comes much closer to the processed drones of Fripp & Eno's Evening Star. Particularly impressive on this track is Goldring's deft hand with feedback, as he carefully shapes the noise to resemble the cry of a human voice. Rounding out the record is "Onions," a dirge that could be a tribute to the lost sailors of a shipwreck. Captain Onboard is an impressive debut that showcases Goldring's knack for brooding atmosphere.

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