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Peter Wright - Red Lion

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Artist: Peter Wright

Album: Red Lion

Label: Digitalis

Review date: Jul. 26, 2006

There's no shortage of people doing what Peter Wright does nowadays. The New Zealand-born London native feeds notes from a twelve-string guitar into a bank of effects pedals, and then massages them into a respectable simulation of eternity. Over the years, he's had plenty of chances to get it right - the discography on his MySpace page lists 21 prior releases ranging from limited CD-Rs to a three-disc set on Last Visible Dog - and on Red Lion he gets it quite right indeed.

Wright sticks fairly consistently to a circumscribed zone of guitar tones throughout, just the thing for establishing a low-glow ambience while you drink that last hot drink before bedtime. But if you give this record your undivided attention and a bit of volume, it'll give you a whole lot more. Wright's use of field recordings - birds singing, crowds milling about, someone's old granny discussing her respiratory ailments - create very specific effects of time, space, and place that make Red Lion a pretty transportational listening experience. On "Blue Ridge," Wright sounds like he's knocking small boats against a dock, just long enough to make you turn up your collar. Then he introduces lonely guitar chords pierced by static-blurred feedback needles and the environment shrinks, awareness sharpens, it's time to sit down. Just as you get comfortable, the title track comes roaring at you; helicopter rotors beat so intensely you want to take cover, and Wright's guitar tolls like carillon bells heard from the far end of an enclosed train terminal.

By interspersing reflective, candle-in-a-dark-room vibes with moments of sunset-glimpsed-through-the-storm beauty, Peter Wright has fashioned a

record to be reckoned with.

By Bill Meyer

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