Ernesto Diaz-Infante

Seagull 022

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Seagull is the name of Lonnie E. Methe's home-based record label in Omaha, a D.I.Y. CD-R imprint that grew out of the cassette underground of the previous decade. Seagull 022 is a collaboration between Methe and Ernesto Diaz-Infante, a multi-instrumentalist based in San Francisco. The brief details included in the homemade packaging don't specify if this session happened with both musicians in the same room or if it is the result of a mail collaboration -- the latter is a good guess. The main track is the 31-minute "The Staircase That Only Went Down." Diaz-Infante has created hollow textures out of prepared guitars, field recordings, a broken CD player, and radio and TV samples. Methe joins in on guitars, turntables, and voice. Guest Alex Boardman supplied some acoustic guitar. The samples create a loose reflection on the post-September 11, 2001, situation in the Middle East, but this political thread doesn't take center stage. Because the voices (the musicians' own and the sampled ones) are integrated into the unfolding lo-fi soundscape instead of being stamped on top of it, the spoken material is hard to catch, drifting in and out of melancholy microtonal passages. Words become empty wallpaper commentary and soon go unnoticed, much like all the analyses Americans have been fed on an ongoing basis following the terrorist attack. In this regard, the piece is subversive and reaches its goals. Otherwise, it presents an interesting array of noises that rarely gel together. Track two is an accidental bonus in pure D.I.Y. fashion (intentionally or not). No details are given, but the slowed-down voice and plaintive violin make it eerie and painful. "Drops of Paint," the other bonus track, is a nice solo improv by Methe, mostly limited to dreamy guitars and murmurs.

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