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P.G. Six - Music from the Sherman Box Series and Other Works

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Artist: P.G. Six

Album: Music from the Sherman Box Series and Other Works

Label: Amish

Review date: Dec. 6, 2006

Pat Gubler, aka PG Six, differs from his contemporaries in the American underground due largely to his poise and pacing. While MV/EE, Charalambides etc fire out CD-R missives most every month, documenting transient modes and passing fascinations, Gubler toils away slowly, transmuting craft practice into artisan design, stealthily worrying away at arrangements. Call it fast vs fastidious, with Gubler positioned on the particular side of the divide; years can pass without word from PG Six, but his small clutch of solo recordings simply has more endurance than fly-by-night samizdat culture.

Music from the Sherman Box Series and Other Works collects instrumental pieces from across Gubler’s career, focusing mostly on a series of harp recordings made to complement a 2005 exhibition of collages made by visual artist Christine Krol. While Gubler uses similar little harp miniatures as transitory modes or punctuation on his song records, when strung together they reveal an internal sturdiness that belies their light-handed tenor. Using only wire-strung and bray harps and minimal electronics, Gubler ghosts the instruments, dropping tiny motifs and fleet-footed folk melodies between the harp’s strings. The compositions are interstitial, setting down between feather-light abstraction and wind-chime melancholy. Their slightness is surely a by-product of their immediate context (soundtrack or installation as opposed to defining document) but Gubler’s pieces are considered and carefully, almost cryptically designed, even at their most fleeting.

Gubler’s first single from 1995, “The Book of Rayguns”, is tacked onto the end of the disc, alongside a contemporaneous composition, “Cartographies for Piano and Electronics”. They’re both pleasant enough, with the water-logged drifts of guitar on “Rayguns” particularly engaging, but they pale next to the thunderous quiet of the harp pieces.

By Jon Dale

Other Reviews of P.G. Six

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