For nearly ten years, songwriter and sound-sculptor Geoffrey Bankowski has been digging secret tunnels through recorded sound with his project, Quietus. Like all the best home-recording artists, Bankowski seizes the limitations of his medium and shapes them into brand-new spaces with a physics and logic all their own. Bankowski's songs are deceptively simple, relying on no more than two or three chords, without bridges or choruses, building tension and momentum from subtle dynamic shifts and bursts of noise that serve as settings for his idiosyncratic narratives and plaintive singing. It passes for rock 'n' roll but comes closer to a sort of ambient-country music, populated by ghostly woodwinds, electronics, and voices that huddle around the bar band at the end of world. Each Quietus record lights the music from a different angle.
This fourth untitled volume lets a touch of light in through the shades. A couple of the songs scrape the periphery of pop music, emphasizing vocals (Geoff's, but also Alejandra Foerg's, who lends an eerie touch to "House Finch" redolent of Gene Clark's "Silver Raven"), jauntier rhythms, gorgeous clarinet passages by Steve Goldstein, and Joseph Harms's quarrelsome lead guitar, which, implausibly, recalls both John Morton in the Electric Eels and Robbie Blunt on The Principle of Moments: the secrets in the attic, the return of the repressed. Recommended to listeners
of Pink Reason, Leonard Cohen, U.S. Saucer, Cowboy Junkies. -e/n!