black eagle child Lobella (CD, £13.75)label: Preservation
Lobelia is the debut full-length album from Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Black Eagle Child, a guise for guitarist Michael Jantz. Jantz has previously released an expansive body of work, sprawling across some of the most notable underground labels of the present day, including Stunned, Housecraft and Digitialis. His solo recordings work a realm of exploratory zones for guitar that touch on the discordant, psychedelic and pastoral, while also deploying varied percussion and field recordings for texture and rhythm. That journey continues with Lobelia, though in its expansive scope it's played for pure songcraft and resonant beauty. Lobelia can take a breezy pace but is deep with feeling throughout. Glistening pieces such as Paper Delivery unravel with an unashamedly wistful air, warmly redolent of the day's wake, while others such as Goodbye House cast starrier atmospheres and a more mysterious kind of grace in their way. It's the perfect combination for a work that reflects on Jantz's growing up in the rural idylls surrounding Lake Michigan. The album's title comes from the name of a native flower Jantz's mother would use as a cure-all remedy when he was younger. Coming full circle now, Jantz has recently seen the birth of his own, child, a daughter. It's her cooing on I Forgot that Jantz uses as another texture in weaving together a meditative portrait of family and the environs that can make it at once both unique and universal. Rounded off by the rustic banjo of Families Get Together, these poignant, sometimes sepia-tinted pieces place a gentle eye on the future. Sweet and enigmatic, Lobelia finds a musical place befitting of such an ideal. It is as evocative as it is lovely.
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