BY FRED MILLS
Formerly a member of Tucson psychedelic collectives Black Sun Ensemble and Sun Zoom Spark, Brian Maloney remains deeply inspired by the West, from that city’s surrounding arid desert landscape all the way to the aquatic promise of the northern California shoreline—and the eternal promise of the conceptual “west” that has piqued the imagination of pioneers since the days of the settlers. Lua De Pescadero was in fact recorded near San Francisco following the final BSE sessions (founder Jesus Acedo passed away in the spring of 2013) and after Maloney’s departure from SZS, and while strands of both groups can be detected on the album—BSE’s mystic/spiritual vibe in particular—the record’s also revelatory in its own right.
A collection of instrumental compositions primarily driven by Maloney’s open-tuned acoustic guitar and sax, Lua also features his bass and percussion work along with additional stringed instruments and occasional keys. The vibe is simultaneously cosmic and down to earth, from the spare plucks and strums dotting the Fahey-esque “Avo Duarte Do Pescadero” to the rippling tension and droning woodwind of the evocatively titled “Fog Rolls Onto Cypress Cove” to the inviting warmth of “Grey Whale Cove.” Also included are tributes to Acedo and another fallen Tucsonan, Rainer Ptacek: “I Remember Rainer” summons sonic images of Ptacek’s signature bluesy tones, while closing track “Waves at Montara,” with its psychedelic sitar and strafing electric guitar, recalls Acedo’s edgy fretwork as helmsman of BSE.
The record should connect whether or not you yourself have a firsthand acquaintance with the Old Pueblo—for my part, I lived in Tucson for 10 years so there’s additional resonance—because in the end, Maloney’s crafted a set of haunting, visceral tunes that linger in the mind long after the CD has spun.
DOWNLOAD: “Fog Rolls Onto Cypress Cove,” “I Remember Rainer”