Published Aug 17, 2018Underground music legend David Pajo retains his idiosyncratic penchant for creating guitar-based music that is pensive, visceral and vividly imaginative. On this instrumental album as Papa M, he sounds like an artist and person working through a range of personal life stuff, with guitars as both his sounding boards and muses. The result is a record that is powerfully alluring and timeless.
"The Upright Path" causes a Slint fan's ears to perk up a bit, as it may well be a spiritual, perhaps more grounded cousin to Pajo's old band's classic, "Don, Aman." In its primary, repetitive, four-note guitar figure, with additional haunting guitar and percussion flourishes, it rightly conjures imagery appropriate to its title — close your eyes and you're on some kind of late-night, light-flickering journey.
"Walt's" possesses a similar kind of unsteady, meditative mood; it's another bare array of notes that seem to stay in time, but also slip every so often to create a kind of false calm. The lumbering yet dizzying "A Lighthouse Reverie" performs a different kind of hypnosis, as its first half rests upon a layered flurry of arpeggios, which eventually gives way to a break before a gentler chord progression and basic percussion brings the song steadily to shore (though someone, presumably Pajo, is actually heard to mutter "Fucking hell" as the final notes ring).
The same kind of vibe fills the remaining tracks, "Shimmer," which is an emotive exhibition of stormy strumming, and finally, "Spiegel Im Spiegel," which is a longer, multi-layered piece that seems serene but is borderline frightening in its off-kilter normalcy. David Pajo is a vital master of musical trickery and virtuosity and, listening to A Broke Moon Rises, it feels particularly fortunate that he remains in our midst. (Drag City)