Artist: Chas Smith
Album: An Hour Out Of Desert Center

Label: Cold blue

An Hour Out Of Desert Center
If a Hawiian guitar dreamt it was the aurora borealis, once awake it'd want to be owned by Chas Smith - and ask, "please make me sound like those ribbons of light, against the velvet of the dark blue night". On the album An Hour Out Of Desert Center, Smith would use the pedal steel guitar (and an original variety of other plucked, stroked or struck instruments - custom and otherwise) to create a bold and complex feast for the ears. Smith pushes his instruments into unexpected realms through unorthodox manipulation and by processing them to an abstract level. The wide horizons of his music easily straddles the timeless resonant eternity of spacemusic and the hands-on expressionism of the avant-garde. The four tracks on An Hour Out Of Desert Center are serene and sophisticated. Here we find Smith, and his unrestricted musical language, swaying between confection and gloom. The title track opens the album to shine and flow before the listener. The calm clear sonic trails are enrapturing as they heave, bend, recede and sustain in waves of shimmering restraint. The tonal organization on "Absence Of Redemption" portrays more gravity as the "tones and drones" struggle between disonance and harmony. From the metal wound strings of his instruments, Smith can coax the sonorities of scraping frozen metal as easily as he can the warmth of a satin harp - and the listener is transported over a similar, however tangled, emotional range. Smith's work on An Hour Out Of Desert Center is powerful... and sublime, well in the area where terror and beauty meet.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   30 March 2003

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