Published Jan 20, 2017If this were a vinyl release rather than a PWYC digital download, J.E. Sheehy might consider labelling the first half of his album "Inside" and the second "Outside" — the contrast between the two is that stark. Tracks one to five deliver intimate, processed guitar sounds as finely nuanced as a Daniel Lanois instrumental; track six — the album's major work at 21 minutes — is a blast of frozen ambiance.
"Past Apartment" and "Improvisation #33 (Mon corps n'est pas un temple)" are two deeply beautiful highlights. Sheehy's guitar playing is boosted by layers of reverb and delay, without resorting to wall-of-sound noisiness.
Then comes the epic "Un à dix sur l'échelle de l'angoisse et du malaise." Sheehy, known on the East Coast as both a music writer and web content developer, told Exclaim! via email that this is his most ambitious work to date: "I started recording it without anything in mind and ended up with a massive soundscape, built through two tracks of guitar and a piano track. It's 100% improvised."
Improvised yes, but not aimless. After building to a shrieking climax, Sheehy refers back to the album's opening track, "Past Apartment," to close the album. It's a nice, cohesive touch that will have you reaching for the repeat button. (Bored Coast Records)