Audio Mixer: Jason Meagher.
Recording information: Black Dirt Studio.
Brooklyn-based improvisational psych-rock trio Rhyton have gradually expanded their sound since their self-titled 2011 debut, incorporating exotic instrumentation and sharpening the focus of their work. Redshift, their third release for Thrill Jockey, is simultaneously their most down-to-earth recording as well as their most ambitious and wide-ranging. In the five years since its debut, the group has advanced significantly, moving beyond sounding like a jammy side project into something more concrete. The arrangements on this album are more complex, with tricky, non-repetitive rhythms and inventive tunings. Guitarist Dave Shuford (of No-Neck Blues Band) often twists his strings or utilizes unique combinations of speakers and pedals in order to produce unconventional sounds. His melodies are inspired by Middle Eastern and Greek folk music, and there are some hypnotic, raga-like moments as well (particularly the drumless "Concentric Village"). At the same time, the album also explores the group's laid-back country-rock side, particularly on the Grateful Dead-esque title track. The album's penultimate track is a cover of Joe Walsh's "Turn to Stone," with vocals fed through a Leslie speaker in order to produce a tremolo effect (think Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan"). From the song's lyrical beginnings, they branch off into a swirling group improvisation, ending up at a more bracing finale. Rhyton sound like they could easily play for hours on end and not get tired, and possibly not even come close to reaching their peak, but they rein in their impulses in order to keep things focused and explore more ideas in the album format, and it works pretty well. ~ Paul Simpson