Within the first moments of this record, Orcutt casually defies an unanimous expectation. There is no cathartic cacophony urgently bursting through the door and entangling you in a frantic manipulation of steel strings. There is no screech and squeal, no trademarked madness. There is, on the contrary (but not unlike a similarly-toned recent self-titled release), a careful and considerate wandering, the tap and bend of familiar fingers not quite ready to pounce as they inspect the environment they’ve discovered themselves in. It’s abundantly clear that Orcutt is showcasing another dimension of his freeform style—an almost tenderness to his abstract ardor.
If the pace has perceivably slowed, however, the zeal has not. This thoughtful approach to Orcutt’s workings and unworkings and reworkings of a guitar or the sounds of a guitar or the idea of a guitar or the definition of a guitar are equally as exciting as the eruptive collaborations with Chris Corsano, among others. It’s a different beast, but it is undoubtedly still a beast. What I love about Orcutt and what you love even if you don’t know you do is that he never performs disconnected from his pulsating core, and for cerebral, experimental-whatever composition or improvisation or both, Orcutt’s music or non-music emotes as heartachingly as a Motown love song.