Decoder review - Crowd Control

Following his effusively elegant Drift/Shore tape on Holy Page last year, Andrew Kendall returns asAndrew is Tired with Crowd Control, a tape of similarly distant tones issued by the Phinery imprint. While Drift/Shore focused on eight relatively brief tracks to explore drifting, decaying, and disintegrating guitar modes, Crowd Control reduces the set down to two roughly half-hour suites of unhindered and unencumbered drone. The duration alone provides ample room for utter aural immersion, a key to each piece’s aimlessness and rewarding narrative. Ultimately, both side-long tracks sustain a trail of lethargic but potent epiphanies. “Variant” simmers along in a low, sustained burn with modest flashes of color and light, almost like spritzing a camp fire with lighter fluid ever so often. Kendall plays like a younger generation’s Oren Ambarchi, isolating the most minute note or guitar gesture and amplifying it to earth-moving scope. But the result remains entirely approachable and even inviting, a sentiment that many drone-smiths neglect or deny, much to the listener’s dismay. “Blue Light” is a relatively darker affair, relying on open space and near-silence, a vibe that both foils and compliments the preceding demeanor. Presence here comes in the form of anxiety-addled phrases and dark, almost jazzy fragments. It’s a confounding work of guitar-based exploration. Copies of Crowd Control are available now directly via Phinery.