Mike Wexler – Disposession

January 01, 1970

(Mexican Summer)




 Mike Wexler’s voice
drifts out across a mesh of electric piano and guitar like the scent of some
exotic flower at night, unhurried, subtly sweet and wreathed in darkness. Little
fragments of vocal melody twine in unexpected, chord-shifting patterns, and
blossom in soft, sighing crescendos. Wexler’s voice is often the last thing
you’ll hear at the end of a phrase, drifting out over the melody and
dissipating finally in the clear space beyond the verse. There is no hurry in
Wexler’s voice, nor in the billowing drones of organ, synthesizer and string
that embellish his phrases. Only the guitar, picked in regular, folk-infused
patterns, and the drums move these songs forward, and even so, there is a sense
of stillness, of meditation, of quiet at the heart of Wexler’s work.


Like Tunng’s Sam Genders, whom he sometimes resembles
vocally, Wexler comes at folk music only glancingly, filtered through a
shifting, interleaved set of other influences. Hints of the Incredible String
Band’s ethnically-tinged finger picking hover at the margins of these serene
and slow-moving songs, but so, too, do bits of small-ensemble jazz, shimmery
CSN-guitar tones, soft-focus Krautrock and pop. There’s a dense and wonderfully
chaotic break at the end of “Glyph” that piles stringed dissonance atop the
clarity of piano, and sounds more like late 20th century classical
music than anything from freak folk nation.   


Dispossession works
as a whole, rather than a collection of songs, its soft, steady progress
culminating in “Liminal,” which blows up out of the quiet into a circling
crescendo of organ whines and cymbal clashes and pianos into something like
fury, yet somehow also remains, at its heart, unruffled. Here is an album that
makes space for itself in the clutter and confusion of ordinary life, radiating
serenity from its center and casting a beautiful calm light on everything it


“Prime,” “Liminal” JENNIFER KELLY

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