Celesteville

Purest Blue Light

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    8
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Another collaborative effort with Sean Brooks of Minmae, Purest Blue Light is a recording of an on-the-air radio session that finds Celesteville in playfully obscure mode. Three tracks long, the first is apparently the world's only known indie rock flute duet -- and not quietly and tastefully played, either, at least all the time. Admittedly, indie rock isn't the real touchstone here in keeping with Anderson's exploratory bent -- by the time wordless vocals and soft, chiming cymbals appear, all of a sudden the focus is somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago or thereabouts. The second cut brings in the guitars for a slightly more straightforward approach -- but only by degrees. A stop-start composition that features Anderson's partially distorted vocal wail, clearly showing his love for non-Western vocal scales and singing styles at points, it brings in a hint of his work with Gang Wizard mixed with some screwy guitar messes indeed. Tempos shift constantly, rhythms drop out entirely, and the whole is some of his most edge-pushing work, at once enthralling and a little disturbing, especially when he hits full-volume vocal screams. Combined with full-on noise from the instruments, the result is anything but stereotypical bedroom-recorded lo-fi winsomeness. The much more restrained final track has both flutes and guitars down very low, the former soft and keening, the latter just barely ringing out darkly in a way that suggests Sonic Youth or Mogwai at their most subtle. Anderson's singing here is also generally much more calm, though still sounding a little uneasy and unsure before bursting out here and there with a final semi-shouted line. One would never think the mention of begonias would be creepy, and yet somehow here it is.