[ SHORT REVIEWS - LIST | DETAILED REVIEWS
(19.23, ‘It’s Twilight Time’)
“Riding the Way Back” is the fifth release by the charmingly-named KNITTING BY TWILIGHT, an art and music collective based in Providence (USA), and led by percussionist John Orsi. An EP just under 20 minutes long, it includes material that did not fit on their first full-length CD, “An Evening out of Town”, released in 2008. Knitting By Twilight have their own signature style, therefore there are no particular surprises to be found on this EP for those who are already familiar with their previous output. However, this should not be taken as a negative remark, on the contrary – sometimes bands or artists overdo the eclecticism thing, and end up confusing their followers. Their music is based on the painstaking build-up of ambient soundscapes, lovingly detailed through the use of an impressive array of tuned and untuned percussion instruments, with judicious touches provided by keyboards or guitars. As already pointed out in my review of “An Evening out of Town”, the tracks are sparse and subdued, based on subtle mood shifts rather than on any strong melodic line or hook. Knitting By Twilight clearly consider each of their pieces as a painting, or another instance of visual art, meant to convey mentalor physical images. In comparison with its longer predecessor, however, “Riding the Way Back” feels somewhat unfinished, and not as varied. The haunting, delicate beauty that characterises the band’s output is still there to be found, but some of the tracks are so ethereal as to be almost brittle. This is especially true of the first three tracks, Shiver, Mik’s Glacier and She’s Here, with their faraway-sounding guitars and gentle, crystalline percussion work. While there are differences between those compositions, they can only be perceived by a very attentive ear. The standout track on the EP, Blue Ink for Fountain Pens, originally featured on the band’s debut album, is based around two different lines played respectively by percussion and guitar. The percussion pattern is hauntingly repetitive, while the somewhat muted sound of the guitar occasionally suggests Pink Floyd at their most experimental – the overall effect is melodic and dissonant at the same time. The disc is brought to a close by the endearingly-titled Twirling Guitars and Glad Tambourines, which sounds exactly as described, with percussion leading the dance and various intriguing guitar effects. Needless to say, “Riding the Way Back” is not an effort for those who need music to be energetic and exhilarating all the time. Though not as rich and cohesive as “An Evening out of Town”, it is still worth a listen (and possibly more than one), and also deserves praise for its classy, retro-style artwork. In any case, Knitting By Twilight should be commended for their dedication to their art, as well as their courageous rejection of any commercial concerns.
RB: March 16, 2010
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]