Artist : Tristan Welch & Ron Oshima
Title : God Bless America
Release date : Jan 13th 2017
Keywords: ambient avantgarde drone experimental free jazzjazz washington d.c. ambient avant-garde drone free jazz jazz political Washington
Reviewer: Wayne Rex
This is the record I have been waiting for. Atmospheric, ambient drone of the guitar, circulating through the background like a impending significant event that could possibly change your life for the better or for the worse but before that occurs it gently strokes your brow and puts you at ease in an uneasy way, if that make any sense at all? Then we have a sax being played like it’s not an instrument but a physical part of his body, mind and soul. Speaking, preaching, shouting, screaming and poetically beautiful, all in equal measure. This isn’t a sax playing this is a new language, not of this planet and it’s reciting some of the more awe inspiring poetry and wisdom I have ever heard.
God Bless America is a three track album by Tristan Welch (Guitar) and Ron Oshima (Sax) and recorded on the day of the United States election, completely live and outside of the nations capital, according to their bandcamp. So we have a political statement, maybe a political protest too, all peacefully carried out through music. What more could anyone ask for from a recording, especially in such politically turbulent times. Each track is played in the respective chord of G (God,) B (Bless,) A (America) and no, I’m not a clever musician who knows shit like this, I did my research and read their short bio when they submitted their record for review but, we’ll pretend I wasn’t honest and told you that and that I am actually a clever and talented musician.
Anyway, onwards with the review. God, the first track, is a very spiritual track, a meditation if you will. I won’t hark on and make comparisons in style etc.. because that is predictable and dull and we all hear different things so will leave anything like that up to the listener. From the very opening of the track you feel kinda transcended into their world and mind. The music isn’t hypnotic in it’s style but has the qualities to hypnotise you and take you on a spiritual ride for 14.24. It genuinely really speaks to you. The musicianship from both the chaps is exceptional. They have both technique and feel in equal measure which doesn’t sound hard to find but really can be. I’ve always been more about feel but to find feel and skill really does make you feel spoilt.
Bless, the second track is a perfect middle track. The guitar playing has classical composition qualities to it as well as the trademark ambient, hypnotic drone and is accompanied by a sax that is played as if you are being blessed by a higher being. You’re not in a church but in a beautiful and tranquil landscape, skillfully drawn by these two remarkable musicians. I felt quite cleansed after hearing that track. Like a calm come up after whitening out after getting too stoned. That doesn’t do it justice but you get what I mean?
America, the third and final track is like a Celtic war ballad. Powerful, melancholic, thought provoking and arousing the very inner spirit that is called for, for the times ahead. The guitar resembles the bagpipes with a huge powerful musical explosion of guitar that could be the mighty Carnyx being played before battle. The sax is the most free jazz sounding it has been throughout the entire recording. Spiraling with confidence at points and then with some long points of sustain to compliment the drone and the recording in general. These two musicians really know each other very well, musically and are intuitive to the most subtle of points.
This is a masterful recording. Has elements of jazz, ambient, drone, and to my ears ancient Celtic music. All played to perfection and wonderfully produced.