William Tyler: Impossible Truth [Digipak]

Track List

>Country of Illusion
>Geography of Nowhere, The
>Cadillac Desert
>We Can't Go Home Again
>Portrait of Sarah, A
>Hotel Catatonia
>Last Residents of Westfall, The
>World Set Free, The

Album Reviews:

Mojo (Publisher) (p.85) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] magnificently unfurling glide through the scenic states of Americana, climaxing in a freakish dust-storm. IMPOSSIBLE TRUTH is an unusually articulate trip."

Paste (magazine) - "Despite the album's heavy themes, most of the songs here have a sublime, dusky quality."

Album Notes

Audio Mixer: Mark Nevers.

Recording information: Beech House Recording, Nashville, TN.

On 2010's Behold the Spirit, guitarist William Tyler created a mysterious six- and twelve-string universe peppered with inventive harmonic and stylistic techniques and odd ambient sounds, and asked musical questions that never expected answers. By contrast, The Impossible Truth evokes a mercurial, musical past (the shadows of the '70s singer/songwriter era in Los Angeles and his hometown of Nashville), and an imagined, already disappeared American geography that has been made and unmade with no one held accountable. Opener "Country of Illusion" (named for a chapter in Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert about the disappearing nature of the American West) approximates a raga. Tyler's layered, fingerpicked electric guitars are framed by Chris Scruggs' walking bass, Luke Schneider's lonesome pedal steel, and the treated trombones of Roy Agee. The melody is open, spacious, and at times, winsome. The solo guitar piece "The Geography of Nowhere" (named after James Howard Kunstler's book) is drenched in reverb and, after an introductory blues theme, directly references "Paint It Black" before spinning it back to blues. "Hotel Catatonia," with Scruggs on lap steel, recalls Judee Sill's gorgeous cathedral-like pop melodies and doesn't musically refer to the Eagles' hit. If anything, the title and music ask a "how did we get there from there" question. This is a guitar "song," its structure touching on Nashville and L.A. country with a cavernous, bell-like sound before enveloping itself in bluegrass picking techniques that embed themselves inside a sunny melodic architecture."Cadillac Desert" finds the guitarist playing vibes and fuzz bass with his guitar, giving the entire piece a lovely, washed-out feel despite its sweet melody. Acoustic guitars make their presences felt on the lovely "Portrait of Sarah" and the labyrinthine "We Can't Go Home." "The Last Residents of Westfall"'s title references a small, fallow town in World of Warcraft's imagined universe. Producer Mark Nevers' use of tapes, Schneider's pedal steel and vibes, and Tyler's guitar and vox organ eventually hollow out an initially sprightly melody that offers an expressionist reverie about what can only be an imagined (and perhaps desired) past. The set closes on the "The World Set Free," a ten-minute opus named after a dystopian collection by H.G. Wells. It employs the same band as the opener, but adds Scott Martin's drums. It commences as a sun-drenched, hummable progression that eventually turns back on itself and becomes something alien, emerging as an angular, skeletal trace. The Impossible Truth is more accessible than Behold the Spirit, but it is easily as adventurous, taking hold of places, spaces, and sounds, reimagining them and altering them just enough to make the entire recording sound at once immediately familiar and somehow wholly other. ~ Thom Jurek



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