erasing clouds

Kurt Weisman, Spiritual Sci-Fi

reviewed by dave heaton

Spiritual Sci-Fi is the album title, and there is a weird sci-fi folk angle to Kurt Weisman’s singing and songs, to his high-pitched, unusual voice singing tales of the Earth, or semi-mystical notions like “the world rhymes above our eyes”. One song is called “The Young Pioneers Discover Magic”, and this naturalist/mystical music does resemble something made by explorers after they discovered magic (or, given that song’s warped, helium demeanor, after they discovered drugs).

These days there are plenty of would-be prophets, seers and woodsmen in the indie-whatever world. What makes Weisman stand out is less the lyrics than the music, the surprising paths it takes more or less continually. The first song, “Cat People of the New Ice Age”, gently zones like you might expect, with bells, acoustic guitar, and a lovely mood of mumbling. But from there it keeps evolving, towards more instruments (percussion that could be electronics, harp, horns), unexpected bleeps and blips, and equally unexpected styles. “The Young Pioneers…” has a underwater cartoon vibe. The title track is like an orchestra and a jazz combo have been invited into one of Weisman’s folk songs and given freedom to do whatever they want. “Camp Arden” is a very proper-sounding instrumental. Other songs drive off into fanciful videogame-meets-the Rennaissance territory. These trips ultimately make the album title seem right. This is an exploratory dream or fantasy, but there’s something philosophical about it.


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