Friday, 20 March 2020

Primal Scream ‎– Screamadelica (1991)

Style: Acid House, Indie Rock, Dub, Psychedelic Rock, Downtempo
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Sire, Warner Bros. Records, Creation Records

01.   Movin' On Upd By
02.   Slip Inside This House
03.   Don't Fight It, Feel It
04.   Higher Than The Sun
05.   Inner Flight
06.   Come Together
07.   Loaded
08.   Damaged
09.   I'm Comin' Down
10.   Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts)
11.   Shine Like Starsour Eyes

Bass – Henry Olsen
Drums, Percussion – Philip Tomanov
Guitar – Andrew Innes
Keyboards, Piano – Martin Duffy
Lead Vocals – Bobby Gillespie
Mixed By – Jimmy Miller
Programmed By – Paul Anthony Taylor
Written-By – Innes, Gillespie, Young
Producer – Andrew Weatherall, Hugo Nicolson

Autumn 1991 saw a wealth of excitement for the indie set. You had Nevermind quietly munching its way across the planet, Teenage Fanclub's defining Bandwagonesque, Saint Etienne launched Foxbase Alpha and My Bloody Valentine were about to be dropped after their colossal Loveless nearly bankrupts their label. Amongst all this, Primal Scream released Screamadelica and seemingly altered the musical landscape. 
The first signs of the genesis of Screamadelica came in Spring 1990 when they released Loaded. Initially something of a dance/rock traitor excursion, Andrew Weatherall took a I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have from their previous album, slipped it a couple of bad things, threw on a Peter Fonda sample and transformed it into a masterpiece of the era. Loaded was the Primal's passport to Top Of The Pops and elevated Bobby Gillespie to Smash Hits poster-boy status. Subsequent singles Come Together (here in a remixed version), Higher Than The Sun (one of the most 'out there' singles to have graced the Top 40, here in both original and epic dub symphony in two parts) and the MC5 meets the rave-up italo sensation Don't Fight It Feel It. Kick off the album with the still-jubilant Movin' On Up, and the ingredients for something very special indeed were there. 
Weatherall had loosened up the Scream, and they would never be the same again. A whole new menu of opportunities and sonic exploration was theirs, and allowed them out of the constraints of the 'rock outfit' set-up. That they followed it up with the slightly underwhelming Give Out But Don't Give Up is one for the history books, but proving it wasn't a one-off with the further adventures of Vanishing Point and the seminal Xtrmntr, showed that the Scream were almost chroniclers of the times. 
Both of its time yet quintessentially timeless, Screamadelica still sounds like nothing else, yet all things at once. Digestable whether off your nut in a club, soundtracking a barbeque or even indie seduction. 18 years down the line, it's not too much to suggest that it's a solid gold classic.
Ian Wade / BBC Review

Throbbing Gristle ‎– 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979)

Style: Industrial, Avantgarde
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Industrial Records, Mute, The Grey Area

01.   20 Jazz Funk Greats
02.   Beachy Head
03.   Still Walking
04.   Tanith
05.   Convincing People
06.   Exotica
07.   Hot On The Heels Of Love
08.   Persuasion
09.   Walkabout
10.   What A Day
11.   Six Six Sixties
12.   Discipline (Berlin)
13.   Discipline (Manchester)

Bass Guitar, Violin, Vibraphone, Synthesizer, Vocals – Genesis P-Orridge
Lead Guitar, Gizmo Guitar, Synthesizer, Cornet, Vocals – Cosey Fanni Tutti
Roland Synthesizers, Sequencers, Vocals – Chris Carter
Tape, Vibraphone, Cornet, Vocals – Peter Christopherson
Composed By, Performer – Throbbing Gristle
Producer – Sinclair/Brooks

Etienne De Crécy ‎– Super Discount (1996)

Style: House, Deep House
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Different, Jaffa Records, Disques Solid, V2

01.   Minos Pour Main Basse (Sur La Ville) - Le Patron Est Devenu Fou!
02.   Etienne De Crécy - Prix Choc
03.   Alex Gopher - Super Disco
04.   AIR - Soldissimo (EDC Remix)
05.   La Chatte Rouge - Affaires A Faire
06.   Minos Pour Main Basse (Sur La Ville) - Tout Doit Disparaître
07.   DJ Tall - Tout A 10 Balles
08.   Etienne De Crécy - Liquidation Totale
09.   Mooloodjee - Les 10 Jours Fous
10.   Alex Gopher - Destockage Massif
11.   Mr. Learn - Fermeture Définitive

Sound Effects – Mr. Learn
Executive-Producer – Pierre-Michel Levallois
Mastered By – Alexis Latrobe
Producer, Mixed By – Etienne De Crécy

Buffy Sainte-Marie ‎– Illuminations (1969)

Style: Psychedelic Rock, Ethereal, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Vanguard, Comet Records

01.   God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot
02.   Mary
03.   Better To Find Out For Yourself
04.   The Vampire
05.   Adam
06.   The Dream Tree
07.   Suffer The Little Children
08.   The Angel
09.   With You, Honey
10.   Guess Who I Saw In Paris
11.   He's A Keeper Of The Fire
12.   Poppies

Bass – Rick Oxendine
Drums – John Craviotto
Lead Guitar – Bob Bozina
Electronic Score – Michael Czajkowski
Vocals, Guitar – Buffy Sainte-Marie
Producer – Maynard Solomon, Mark Roth

In 1977, on an episode of Sesame Street, Buffy Sainte-Marie became the first person to breastfeed on national broadcast television (“Lots of mothers feed their babies this way,” she explained to a very curious Big Bird.) She was the first person to record a song by a then-unknown songwriter named Joni Mitchell (“The Circle Game,” on Sainte-Marie’s 1967 album Fire & Fleet & Candlelight, released almost a year before Mitchell’s own debut). When she decided she’d rather record her 1992 album Coincidence and Likely Stories at home in serene Hawaii than travel to her producer’s studio in chaotic London, Sainte-Marie became the first person ever to make an album by sending files across what was then still being earnestly called “the World Wide Web.” 
Being one of the mainstream’s most visible indigenous entertainers in the 1960s and beyond, Buffy Sainte-Marie was the first Native woman to do quite a few things, among them win a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. She is presumably the only person to have written songs that have been covered by the unholy trinity of Elvis, Morrissey, and Courtney Love. And in 1969, when she unleashed her astounding, trailblazing sixth LP Illuminations, she became the first musician not only to release an album with vocals processed through a Buchla 100 synthesizer (the very same unit that the electronic music legend Morton Subotnik had used to compose his landmark 1967 album Silver Apples of the Moon), but the first person ever to make an album recorded using quadraphonic technology, an early precursor to surround-sound.

And yet, Sainte-Marie has always been suspicious of “firsts”—something about the word itself connotes a narrow-sighted narrative of conquest. She still dismisses hierarchies and what she derisively calls “pecking orders” as rigidly Euro-centric, reeking of colonial absurdity and woefully lacking in imagination. Over and over, she has learned that being ahead of one’s time can be a liability when one does not look the way a vanguard is “supposed to,” which is usually like a white man. “I was real early with electronics, and I just got used to this typical music-biz resistance,” she recalls in Andrea Warner’s 2018 book Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography. “Most of these boys—whether musicians or record company guys—did not want to seem old-fashioned or out of the loop. They didn’t want somebody else—a girl like me—to be ahead of them.” 
But she was. Illuminations is a potent artifact from those early days when the synthesizer conjured audible awe and limitless possibility. (Even Giorgio Moroder’s first Moog-driven hit, “Son of My Father,” was not released until 1972.) Illuminations would have been a tough sell in 1969 regardless, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that Sainte-Marie learned another factor in its commercial failure: Because of her activism with the recently formed American Indian Movement (AIM) and her outspoken Vietnam-era pacifism, the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations had both led campaigns to blacklist her music from American radio stations and record stores. “Buffy thought that the decline of her record sales was just part of legitimate changes in American public taste,” her biographer Blair Stonechild wrote in 2012’s Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way. But years after the release of Illuminations, when an American radio DJ was interviewing Sainte-Marie, he shocked her by apologizing for abiding by a government mandate to stop spinning her tunes. She recalled, “He had a letter on White House stationery commending him for suppressing this music, which deserved to be suppressed.” 
As the years went by, Illuminations developed something of a cult following; in 1998, the experimental music magazine The Wire put it on a list of “100 Records That Set the World on Fire When Nobody Was Listening.” (“If Dylan going electric in 1965 would have turned folk purists into baying hyenas,” they wrote, “Buffy Sainte-Marie going electronic would have turned them into kill-hungry wolves.”) But, like Sainte-Marie herself, the bewitching, utterly transporting Illuminations has still not gotten a fraction of its due. It is a record overripe for reevaluation—for reasons not limited to but certainly including pissing off the ghost of Richard Nixon. 
From the Greenwich Village coffeehouses of the early 1960s up through her Polaris Prize-winning 2015 album Power in the Blood, Sainte-Marie has always moved through the world as though she can peer into a fourth dimension. In the 1960s, she drew equal inspiration from some of the world’s oldest instruments—one of her signature tools was the mouth bow, made from the bark of a chokecherry tree—and some of the most cutting-edge recording technology. Her early version of that Joni Mitchell song was a fitting personal anthem: Where others see straight lines, Buffy has always seen circles; connections instead of divisions. At the end of her book, Warner recalls a telling suggestion Sainte-Marie had made on an early draft of her manuscript: She’d crossed out the phrase “tearing down” and written in its place “creating—in spite of and beyond.” 
In the early years of her life, Sainte-Marie experienced much to work in spite of, much to travel beyond. She was born on a Cree reservation in Saskatchewan, though she’s not sure when, or under what circumstances she ended up in an adoption agency. She knows, at least, that she was born sometime in the early 1940s, and that the traumatic practice of ripping indigenous babies from their homes would continue to be common practice in Canada for decades; the phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “Sixties Scoop.” She was adopted by a white family in Wakefield, Massachusetts and given the name Beverley Sainte-Marie. 
Buffy had a creative and encouraging mother, but through the Sainte-Marie family she also came in contact with several male relatives, including her adoptive brother, who inflicted upon her years of sexual and emotional abuse. Her internal life became a place of refuge. “I wasn’t only some traumatized, scared little kid hiding under the bed—which I was—but I was also this other person who had an inner world that was really, really good,” she told Warner. She recalled her daily after-school routine, during the long Massachusetts winters: “I’d drop my books at home, grab my skates, go down the hill to the lake, and skate until dark, Tchaikovsky in my head… as well as Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee, LaVern Baker, and Chuck Berry. I don’t know if anybody else was skating to ‘Maybelline’ in their heads, but I was.” 
Soon enough her own songs began to flood her head; “inner media,” she called them. She taught herself how to translate the melodies onto the piano; she twirled knobs and invented wild tunings on her guitar. She “[sang] her guts out,” like her cross-cultural heroines Édith Piaf and the flamenco artist Carmen Amaya, skeptics be damned (“If I’d been a flamenco performer or a chanteuse in Paris, maybe everybody would have understood. But it was quite unusual to sing with that kind of passion in the USA.”) She didn’t feel bold enough to play her compositions for other people until she went away to college, but at UMass Amherst in the early 1960s, she found a like-minded crew of young folkies. The future blues musician Taj Mahal liked to jam with her in the echoing stairwells, where they could play as loudly as they wanted, reveling in natural reverb. 
Her first album in 1964, It’s My Way!, remains one of the most revelatory debut albums of the 1960s, a decade with no shortage of them. It’s stark, clarion: Just a banshee voice and brutally strummed guitar emerging from some dark ether. Her sturdily crafted songs told tales of injustices that were years away from mainstream attention: The escalating conflict in Vietnam (“Universal Soldier”), the agony of opiate addiction (“Cod’ine”), the native lands and populations that were being displaced by corporate greed (“Now That the Buffalo’s Gone”). Her arrangements were relatively traditional, but in her subject matter, Buffy already seemed to possess a glowing portal into the future. The liner notes called her “an Indian Cassandra.” 
For much of the 1960s, she was indiscriminately lumped in with the luminaries of the folk scene—Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan—but even within the burgeoning counterculture, Sainte-Marie still felt like an outsider. Always had: Back in college she turned down every opportunity to join a sorority, and in Wakefield, she somehow “flunked” Girl Scouts. As a recording artist, though, the creatively restless Sainte-Marie was cutting her own way—through the mystical devotions of 1966’s Little Wheel, Spin and Spin to the playful country-western drag of 1968’s I’m Gonna Be A Country Girl Again. But by 1969, her “inner media” was crying out for stranger manifestations. 
In the late 1960s, what would eventually come to be known as “electronic music” was still, to most casual music listeners, a vaguely threatening abstraction. “The anxiety around automation became attached to the synthesizer in the mid-20th century,” Roshanak Kheshti writes in her recent 33 1/3 book on Wendy Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, an album that was enjoying unexpected chart success the same year that Buffy Sainte-Marie released Illuminations. “The Twilight Zone of a post-nuclear world seemed to be descending in the form of the synthesizer, an electrical instrument with the power to shift shape.” The old guard didn’t trust this impersonal, space-age version of the electricity in Elvis’ hips. 
Switched-On Bach was comprised of 12 well-known Bach pieces performed by Carlos on a Moog synthesizer—a playful yet meticulously executed meeting of past and future. The familiar respectability of Bach offered a plush welcome mat for those curious about this “Twilight Zone”-esque new instrument, and Switched-On Bach became a surprise hit, garnering three Grammys and breaking into the Top 10 on the Billboard album chart. As with any sudden commercial success, novelty copycats soon followed: Switched-On Rock; Switched on Nashville; Moog Plays the Beatles. Because it had the familiar feature of a black-and-white keyboard, the Moog was the most popular and musician-friendly of the early synthesizers. The Buchla, which would become Sainte-Marie’s instrument, was another beast entirely. 
“It wasn’t even as though there was an electric keyboard, it was too early,” she recalled. “We just called it a matrix, a bunch of possibilities you could connect in various ways to modify sound waves.” Subotnik and Don Buchla, who developed the Buchla 100 together in the mid-1960s, were less interested in futurizing recognizable instruments like the piano than they were giving people a blank slate to create new forms. “My basic thought was to be creative with this new instrument,” Subotnik said in a 2017 interview, “to show people how, without black and white keyboards, you could create a new kind of music.” Sainte-Marie—an artist who’d always seen beyond simple binaries—was enamored of this strange new machine. 
The Buchla announces its stirring presence in the opening seconds of Illuminations: Sainte-Marie’s voice is patched through and manipulated in such a way that it sounds like a reflection rippling in water. “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” takes all its lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s hallucinatory 1966 novel Beautiful Losers, and it unfurls like an increasingly impassioned rebuttal to Nietzsche’s most notorious claim. “Magic is alive,” Sainte-Marie sings with trembling resolve. “Though his death was pardoned, round and round the world, the heart would not believe.” It is a timeless parable of resilience and the necessity of wonder, placed within a modern frame: It’s easy to hear the connection between “magic” and the otherworldly electronic sounds itching at the foundation of this song. 
For an ostensibly forward-marching record, there’s quite a bit of ancient Biblical imagery on Illuminations: Song titles include “Adam,” “Mary,” and “Suffer the Little Children.” (The Smiths would, of course, write their own track bearing a similar title 15 years later, and Morrissey also covered a song from Illuminations on his most recent album, 2019’s California Son.) But this is one of those records that collapses the distance between seeming opposites. The mesmerizing aurora borealis of “The Vampire” and the shooting stars that streak across the coda of psych-rocker “Better to Find Out For Yourself” both depict the cosmos as something enduring and eternal, rather than just a lazy space-age motif. Where were the Magi looking for the Star of Bethlehem, if not on the astral plane? Again, Sainte-Marie is attuned to the interconnectedness of all things: Though they toggle from the Old Testament to New Weird America, the stellar sounds of Illuminations suggest that all these songs take place beneath the same sky. 
The pain depicted on this record, though, coexists peacefully with Sainte-Marie’s open-hearted pursuit of pleasure. Illuminations contains a few of the most assertively sensual songs she’s ever recorded, like the rollicking “With You, Honey” (“It’s about your potty mouth, and the way you stand”) and the blazing groove “He’s a Keeper of the Fire,” which ends with Sainte-Marie so overcome that she begins howling at the moon. Her music always has a fierce independent streak—her debut album, after all, was called It’s My Way!—but within it there is also the ever-present possibility of surrendering to love, to tenderness, or maybe just to fleeting satisfaction. 
Though it’s rare to find a Buffy Sainte-Marie song on which she’s not singing with wild abandon, Illuminations features some of the most moving vocal performances in her entire catalog. “The Dream Tree”—one of the few songs that does not seem to feature any sounds processed through the Buchla—is a kind of domestic sequel to “Universal Soldier,” an emotionally vivid portrait of wives left lonely and widowed by war. Beneath it all, a nervously finger-picked arpeggio moves like anxious hands knitting to keep themselves busy. The track on Illuminations that most frequently moves me to tears, though, is “The Angel.” The song is, quite literally, an ascension, with Sainte-Marie’s gravity-defying voice mimicking a soul’s heavenward release from its body. “Give up your treasured wounds, let go the temping memory of the pain,” she sings. “And you will live, and you will learn to fly again.” 
Like many albums lightyears ahead of their time, Illuminations was a commercial disaster when it was first released. “People were more in love with the Pocahontas-with-a-guitar image,” she once said when asked why she thought Illuminations failed to find a contemporary audience. She’d later learn about the American blacklist, the government suppression, and the reason why she continued to be better-known in other countries started to make sense. “They only have to hold you under water for about four minutes and you’re dead for a long time, when it comes to radio airplay,” she has said. “Things changed. But they didn’t change internally for me. I continued to record better and better songs, production-wise, I think. You just didn’t hear them in the States.” 
The ability to harness new technology, of course, is a mighty power. That Buffy Sainte-Marie was using synthesizers and quadraphonic sound to upend conventional narratives about North American colonialism only made her more terrifying to the status quo. Perhaps that is why she has continued to make her life’s work bringing computers and digital technology to indigenous communities, as she has done with her Cradleboard Teaching Project or her 1999 manifesto “Cyberskins.” Emerging technology, she writes, can “counterbalance past misinterpretations with positive realities, and past exploitations with future opportunities. The reality of the situation is that [indigenous people] are not all dead and stuffed in some museum with the dinosaurs: we are here in this digital age.” 
Fifty years ago, Illuminations was a declaration of that same life-affirming truth, and so it remains. It’s a portal to another world, as full of possibilities and alternative realities as that telephone-switchboard-like matrix into which Sainte-Marie plugged cord after cord. Lay down your cool cynicism, your rationality, your linear Western thinking, Illuminations instructs, before leaning close to whisper its secret: “Magic is alive.”
Lindsay Zoladz / Pitchfork

Jeff Parker ‎– The New Breed (2016)

Genre: Jazz, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: International Anthem Recording Company, Headz

1.   Executive Life
2.   Para Ha Tay
3.   Here Comes Ezra
4.   Visions
5.   Jrifted
6.   How Fun It Is To Year Whip
7.   Get Dressed
8.   Cliche

Drums – Jamire Williams
Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Electric Piano, Mellotron – Josh Johnson
Producer, Electric Bass, Engineer, Edited By, Mixed By – Paul Bryan
Producer, Electric Guitar, Electric Piano, Mellotron, Loops, Sampler, Drum Programming – Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker, a guitarist best known for his work in the experimental Chicago rock band Tortoise, favors a clean tone with a judicious hint of delay. He’s a master of soulful phrasing, fluent but never flashy, and tends to present himself as the straight man in musical situations that could tilt in any direction-toward loopy grandeur, or growly delirium, or deep-in-the-pocket groove. 
Parker titled his first album in four years The New Breed, after an Afrocentric clothing store owned by his father, Ernie Parker, in the 1970s. There’s a reproduction of a cracked and faded photograph on the album cover: Ernie stands beaming, clasping hands with a pal in front of the store. If records also happened to be sold there, they might have sounded a bit like this one. 
The New Breed has its origins in a spate of old home recordings and beat-centric tracks that Parker rediscovered after moving from Chicago to Los Angeles a few years ago. He fleshed out some of these scraps into compositions, and convened a band: the multireedist Josh Johnson, the drummer Jamire Williams and the bassist Paul Bryan, who also engineered, mixed and helped produce the sessions. 
The result is a sort of farm-to-table instrumental hip-hop album-reminiscent of a producer sampling 1970s soul-jazz, but with a live band playing the samples while keeping a boom-bap idea in mind. (It’s out on International Anthem, the same Chicago label that has released music of similar concept by the drummer Makaya McCraven, with Parker in the band.) 
In addition to electric guitar, Parker is credited playing Wurlitzer electric piano, Mellotron, Korg synthesizer and assorted samplers, along with drum programming. So it’s striking how seamless everything sounds. “Here Comes Ezra” has a chiming, coolly oblique guitar line over a synthetic beat: It’s the track that most evokes Tortoise, serving as a reminder of just how much Parker has brought to that band’s sonic identity. 
Elsewhere the frame widens. “Jrifted” opens with a waft of flutes and reeds, becoming a gluey slow jam; “Executive Life” has a disjointed beat and bassline under a soul-jazz melody, like one of Madlib’s dalliances with the Blue Note catalogue. The album’s only cover is “Visions,” a blush of haunting tranquility by the vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, made for Blue Note in the late ’60s. 
The playing throughout is erudite and relaxed, with more concern for the whole than any shining solo turn. But as a closer, Parker offers “Cliche,” a vocal feature for his daughter, Ruby Parker, who smoothly handles some tricky intervals in the melody. “He told me ‘The end is coming,'” she sings. “I responded: ‘That’s a cliché.'”
Nate Chinen / JazzTimes

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges ‎– Texas Sun (2020)

Style: Psychedelic, Soul, Country Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Dead Oceans, Columbia, Night Time Stories

1.   Texas Sun
2.   Midnight
3.   C-Side
4.   Conversion

Backing Vocals – Laura Lee, Mark Speer
Bass – Laura Lee
Drums – Donald Johnson, Jr.
Electric Guitar, Percussion – Mark Speer
Pedal Steel Guitar – Will Van Horn
Vocals – Leon Bridges
Producer – Khruangbin, Steve Christensen

From their respective metropolises, Khruangbin and Leon Bridges offer fascinating variations on the notion of “Texas music.” The Fort Worth-based Bridges explores a strain of soul that is more closely associated with Mississippi and Chicago than the Lone Star State, while Houston trio Khruangbin dabbles in a strain of globally minded, stoner-friendly psychedelia that authorities didn’t always look upon so kindly. Today, both artists find themselves rising stars, garnering millions of streams and promoting the vision of a more diverse and open-minded Texas, the one that leads to headlines like this. 
The two teamed up for a joint North American tour in 2018, but heading into the studio together wasn’t an obvious next step. Their partnership might pay dividends down the road, but at four songs in 20 minutes, Texas Sun is both tantalizing and a little half-baked. The title track gives a glimpse of how each party might bolster the other: Khruangbin bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer, and drummer Donald Johnson impart some much-needed looseness and pliancy to Bridges’ vocals, while the singer in turn grounds their wandering with song structures and sturdy vocals. “Texas Sun” is a simmering road-trip number, with Bridges’ delivery rendering that oppressive sun into something more mellow. Khruangbin provides a head-nodding beat, but for all of their synergy, the result still resembles boilerplate Bob Seger. 
The slinky “Midnight” could have been cribbed from a Numero Group Eccentric Soul compilation. Bridges’ lyrics again situate us in a moving vehicle, this time at night instead of the sweltering midday heat. They conjure a wistful mood, with lyrics that detail a new love in the passenger seat, cruising around with no particular destination in mind, smoking with the windows down, the backseat beckoning from the rearview mirror. “Put on your lavender/Perfume and a nice dress,” Bridges croons sweetly.

“C-Side” boasts the sultriest groove, with Lee’s loping bassline riding behind a clopping cowbell and mallet percussion. But Bridges’ chorus is diffuse and unmemorable, and the percolating beat lingers in the mind for longer than the words. The smoky minor-key ballad “Conversion” (which has its roots in the gospel hymn “At the Cross”) showcases Bridges’ honeyed, unhurried delivery at its most effective. If anything, the four songs leave you wanting more from this collaboration, offering up brief, blurry glimpses of their Texas landscape rather than the expansive vistas that they might arrive at should they ride together a little longer.
 Andy Beta / Pitchfork