Third Album for the Sun

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Amusing Hendrix nod aside, it's actually the duo's second album, and compared to the first isn't as compelling. Indeed, Third Album is arguably the least successful recording Montgomery has ever worked on -- by no means a disaster or bad, but the results are far less memorable than his work elsewhere, especially in comparison to the subsequent Montgomery/Heaphy collaboration, True. As minimal drone it's all right, but perhaps too readily embraces Brian Eno's philosophy that ambient music should be as ignorable as it is able to be concentrated on. There's no question that the record has been worked on with the greatest care -- one gets the sense that Montgomery and Heaphy really worked to make every last possible note, drone, and shade count, resulting in a very subtle, understated mix where even the slightest of changes has an impact. But having set the mood initially, there's little development as the album goes, certainly none of the changes and elaborations that made That That Is a much more inviting recording, or which make the work of Lull and Main so disturbing and harrowing. Processed guitar lines float in and out of the continuing flow of sound just so, attractive in many cases but little more than that. Add to all this the fact that the track listing on the album makes no sense. Six songs are listed, interspersed with five untitled "live edits," but only three discrete tracks are on the CD itself, and nothing makes it at all apparent where one song is meant to begin and the other to end, aside from the fades between said three tracks. In conclusion, Third Album is strictly for the hardcore Montgomery fan, praiseworthy perhaps for the sheer focus brought to bear by the duo but otherwise best serving as music to play while working on something else or drowsing off.

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