Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pitstop: Abandoned Lighthouse

My discovery of Abandoned Lighthouse, the solo project of the Antlers' touring bassist Tim Mislock, happened as all good discoveries tend to - at a show I was only dimly aware he was playing. You see, Abandoned Lighthouse was the announced support for Port St. Willow's recent NYC live show return at Knitting Factory and I made a point not to listen to the recently released debut record. Not doing so prepared me for a very different experience.

Despite the fact that Mislock more or less had a record to promote that night, his set that night consisted mostly of instrumental guitar loops he had been experimenting with rather than his songs featured on the album which was all well and good, the loops were entrancing, and played like slightly darker-tinged, obscured versions of the tuneful guitar rock making a comeback with acts like William Tyler and Delicate Steve. It was a rather endearing set that spurred me to buy the admittedly very different debut record that night.

Though still as loop-centric as Mislock's engaging live set, Static Stream adds a more vocal element. In this we get a remarkably less minimalistic musical experience. Sure, tracks like "A Place to Bury Friends" captivate with their slowly-unfurling. Static Stream is a folk-inspired set of ambient-leaning rock experiments.  It seems like a rather far-reaching blanket in theory that rather ends of cherry-picking what works so well in each and applying them in a rather hauntingly beautiful way. Mislock's talent for emotive mood pieces is the glue that keeps it all together - whether they're accompanied by his melancholy-soaked lyrics or just cast on their own into the stormy sea of Abandoned Lighthouse's instrumentals.

Abandoned Lighthouse may be different on record versus live but that's kind of the fun isn't it? The record is an absolute, though somber, gem while the live set allows brightness to permeate what could be an utterly depressing atmosphere. It's a veritable balance of ying and yang that I hope Mislock keeps up. It's always nice when going to a show is its own special experience and its own special reward.

You can listen to/buy Static Stream via the Abandoned Lighthouse Bandcamp.

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