Like many prolific experimental musicians, the Burlington electro-acoustic composer Greg Davis' catalog is sometimes difficult to find a representative entrance to. In 2009 alone, he released Beatlesque pop music with fellow Vermonter Chris Weisman (Northern Songs), microtonal drones (Primes), a two-track 50-minute mediation (Mutually Arising), and a drifting self-released cassette piece (Full Spectrum). And this to top a catalog that includes glitchy experiments, gong-outs, field recordings, a rock tour with Akron/Family, instrumental guitar work, and a bootleg Grateful Dead mix. Midpoint, which contains two live laptop improvisations recorded in 2006 and 2009, consolidates Davis' interests into a pair of extended pieces that are adventurous, inviting, and show off the best of Davis' worlds. The first track, recorded December 1, 2006 in Bellingham, WA (a quadraphonic performance at the Bellingham Electro-Acoustic Festival), builds from a long, low tone of violin and viola, gradually adding voices and building -- like an alien sun rising and spitting strange colors -- into a gradually brightening morning that dissolves, then, into water, chimes, and silence. On the second jam, recorded in Davis' adopted hometown of Burlington on May 12, 2009, Davis transforms buzzing field recordings into a series of dazzling washes that sound neither synthetic nor organic, but some hybrid of synthesizer and natural phenomenon. With an ear for narrative, Davis holds onto the mood without letting it fall into repetition, exploring small melodies before a tabla-informed beat appears and itself dissolves into silvery Morton Subotnick-influenced sound orbs. Psychedelic and artistically rigorous, Midpoint is a gorgeous portrait of Davis at his freethinking best.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow