Erik Wallack

Vermis

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The debut recording effort of this artist presents a dozen portraits of insect life, a subject which continues to haunt composers both brilliant and feeble-minded. It was recorded, engineered, and produced by Wallack, who plays all the parts in the frequently overdubbed textures involving mostly stringed instruments, many of them acoustic. A note might have tumbled out of the review copy in which the artist apologized for not having other musicians to play the parts, the multi-tracking more an act of the desperately isolated than the maniacal genius attempting to populate the sonic earth with offspring. This type of information is too commonplace among home-recording artists to really matter much, and the head can nod in recognition of the positive effects this process can have on the music. An artist playing music along with another recorded track they have already created can be much more finely tuned into the weavings than an ensemble partner, even one who has had the benefits of proper rehearsal. The results cannot replace the workings of a cooking working band, although whether such an ensemble would be needed to improve on a series of dedications to "Tapeworm," "Centepede," and "Grub" is questionable. Cynics who associate overdubbing with masturbation should be reminded of Woody Allen's take on this subject: "It's sex with someone you love." And this is music made with someone you love, of particularly rich substance in the long, enveloping, melodic and beautiful guitar pieces such as the final "Katydid." Fans of instrumental acoustic guitar, of the Jim O'Rourke and John Fahey variety, should definitely check this out. The recording quality is wonderful.

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