Austin's regular drone collector Randall Taylor operates under the mystical moniker Amulets, and continues to be beautifully prolific. After digging his Knowing Your America effort last year, I'm wasting no time diving into three more of his releases.
Firstly is his contribution to the charity label Heligator Records. 'Sierra Highs' is a continuation of what I fell in love with on Know Your America, amplified tenfold. The subtleties inherent in the weaving of his looped guitar magic is never more obvious yet breathtaking here - the hiss and echo of found sound, sounding like an aerosol can, the caught hiss of a out of sync radio station, the clack of a rhythmic passing of a train, a crack of a falling tree limb - the sounds are cavernous and nebulous, becoming what you want to hear. But the chiming guitar notes enthral, taking us to higher realms, to Sigur Ros levels of Nordic euphoria. Indeed there are touchstones of Austin's own Explosions In The Sky in the slow rise of distorted guitar wash, a tide that comes back and forth, hooking into your soul and never letting go. Try not to have a goofy, totally relaxed grin at the end of this song. Brilliant.
Then there is the split he has done with Braeyden Jae (out now on Horror Fiction Records). It is a vehicle for both artists to meld their mystical sheets of sound to mesh together, crafting a wavering ambient soundscape that is imbued with anguish, longing, loss, regret and glimmers of redemption, of hope. How looped manipulation and crackling and popping speakers can emulate such ebbs and flows of emotion seems impossible - but then you haven't heard this yet. Do so right now.
Finally there is Beneath The Surface, his solo effort out through Never Anything and Tereshkova Records. It perfectly encapsulates the swirling mantras and shifting vistas that Taylor carves out of the sonic air, an alchemist of incremental loops and sweeping mirages, floating in and around you while remaining just out of reach. In fact, this record is so cyclical that I have heard the cassette player click over sides maybe five times now and have no inclination to get up and stop it - let Beneath The Surface play out ad infinitum until the replay feature burns out (which, seeing as this Sherwood is twenty year old, may not be that long - let's try it out...) There are only 4 cassette copies left on the Amulets website, so have at it!
He has plans to put out his first release on vinyl this year too, so 2016 is all about Amulets. Get lost in the glow.