Review: Tucker Theodore — ‘LSG’

Seattle guitarist and sonic abstractionist Tucker Theodore’s LSG could be a paleontologist’s soft tissue T-Rex. Released last November both digitally and on cassette (by Portland’s eclectic Antiquated Future Records), LSG is not a hidden gem or crate diggers life’s work, yet it already feels strangely overlooked. Theodore’s guitar playing, looping, and tinkering are transformative. Considering the runtime (two tracks totaling over 50 minutes) and limited tangible quantities (only 100 cassettes exist), LSG is a seamless recording capable of thwarting your Spotify listening tendencies.

Side A is a straightaway baptism. “LSG (Movements 1-6)” whines scenic guitar notes amid propulsive drumming in a river without an overriding current. Theodore’s melodic complexities scrap and meander, offering a generous give and take. Instrumentation spins webs as taped looped expressions and experimental aural reveal solar flares.

“Movement 2” inserts near the nine-minute mark, woven by delicately finger picked guitar. Theodore quickly loops an eerie, scrambled high-pitched organ sound, dissolving into a crushing feedback induced solo, thus giving legs and wings to “Movement 3”. The feedback maintains a heavy blow but quickly brightens under the thrust of drums and cymbal crashes. “Movement 4” arrives before the 14th minute and charms as a polymorphic example of Theodore’s recording prowess. Like Mark McGuire’s boundary pushing ambience or Steven R. Smith’s psych explorative in Ulaan Khol and meditative paste in Ulaan Passerine, Theodore’s intentional pausing permeates. Each throb of bass note is a step, while his psychedelic ya-ya’s offer several footing options, mapping out a trajectory of wandering bliss.

“Movement 5” explores this vast landscape through dabbles of pitch control and flubbing experimental leanings, giving LSG it’s cohesive polish. Side A ends with the noisy, ramping “Movement 6” with Theodore sounding like he’s ready to burst open his amplifiers and fry his circuitry.

Side B’s “LSG (Movements 7-10)” squeaks and churns introspective. Early on, mantra-like guitar notes hold rhythm while Theodore returns to noodling over pitch control knobs, deleting sonic textures and resurrecting them moments later. “Movement 8” is built off sustained echoes and squalls of wearable feedback. Instantly gorgeous, Theodore’s soaring sounds grasp a pensive expressionism our human condition yearns for. At 12 minutes, the feedback thickens and sinks, revealing carbonations of drone. “Movement 9” is caramelized by unpretentious strumming, lo-fi drums, guitar buzz, and expansive lifts. Theodore’s guitars get murky and less malleable while cymbals resonate with crisp strikes and a post-rock path. An emerging mood of electronics and looping follow. “Movement 10” bends and flexes close to combustion before dispersing. Theodore’s doomish tones scaffold his galaxy bound jams.

Available digitally with purchase of the cassette, “Movement 11” haunts with clanking of xylophone, drifting guitar notes, skeletal drones, and ringing of bells, graciously reacting and directing Theodore’s textural vapor. A fitting end to LSG’s shape-shifting wizardry and possibilities.

(Check out ‘LSG’ below via Bandcamp and get more info about Tucker Theodore HERE.)

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