Taken from a live recording in 2004, Nagual features three artists known for their individual work -- Todd Merrell on electronics, Aidan Baker on guitar, and Patrick Jordan on "processing," with Jordan and Merrell also working shortwave radio -- in an enjoyable collaboration. As is always the case with improvisation, the performance runs a risk of simply being indulgent rather than truly memorable, but in its understated fashion the four pieces featured here show that the three performers are able to combine forces well. The overall feeling is unsurprisingly one of sheer meditative chill, often being the kind of dark, reflective electronic pieces that call to mind everyone from Mick Harris to Robert Rich at the latter's most moody, with Baker's guitar work providing anchoring undertones and shades to the slightly stern mood conjured up by Merrell and Jordan. The opening "Undertow" is well named as a result, suggesting a dark pull downward throughout in its slowly rising flow of sound and echo. That said, not all is gloom by any means -- "Diomedea" is much more enclosed and cocoonlike, with Baker's guitar parts being gentle additions to a carefully building wash of warm sound that is understatedly rhythmic as well as softly calming, a fine contrast to its concluding section where colder sonic winds sound like they're coming down from outer space. "Cygnus" blends these two impulses more carefully, Baker's soft melody providing a steady core for a series of interwoven drones that almost glow with lambent energy, serene and uplifting.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett