Rothko and Caroline Ross A Place Between

Deciding to give his occasional contributor equal billing, Mark Beazley, aka Rothko, uses Ms. Ross to great effect on this slow and sometimes ponderous slice of drone and low register musings. The most inventive songs are those that allow Caroline Ross to use her voice in a less straightforward manner. The best example is "An Open Breath,” which uses a pronounced bass thump, with just the slightest drops of piano, percussion and Ms. Ross’ vocals. Floating just under the thick surface of bass, the vocals bewitch in their ability to pop above the surface and engage the listener, but then submerge again like a particularly wily fish. Another interesting piece is "Bow,” which goes through some very distinct genre shifts in one song. Starting with a mournful harmonica, it drifts into more conventional drone elements finally ending with Caroline Ross singing over a bare stand-up bass in a very coffeehouse jazz way. One misstep would be the extended drone ending to "The Northern Lights Are Out,” which hums, literally, for much longer than necessary. Some lovely elements, but it never truly seems to get going, and sometimes a little more Ross and a little less Rothko just may have been the right thing. (Lo)