Goddamn, here it is—Pelt’s first album since 2009, a double LP blast of haunted acoustic drone fit less for vinyl than to be carved in stone by thousands of clay-caked and nameless hands over a period of generations.
Want to get absolutely lost in the sound of the other America? This is it—across four sides, Pelt batter, squall, lament, and dream against a thick backdrop of violin, table, ringing percussion, guitar, and lap steel. At times, “Effigy” presents a thicket of confusing, nearly-unrelated sound, disassembled and disorienting. Moments later, these same sounds resolve into startlingly coherent patterns, evidence of a greater—and perhaps frightening— natural system at work, like watching a cloud of starlings suddenly act of one mind in response to something unseen. “Ashes of a Photograph,” undoubtedly Effigy’s magnum opus, is as fine a drone work as I have yet heard; it carries the listener in its breast, surrounded by the fierceness of wind and night, secure in the warmth of comforting words in a foreign tongue.
If you’ve been taking your lengthy works with a shot of the same electronic hum-drum up until now, Effigy may be just the tonic you need, opening up new—and some very, very old—avenues of listening. Definitely recommended.
-- Dave X, Musique Machine