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Mind Over Mirrors - When the Rest are Up at Four

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Artist: Mind Over Mirrors

Album: When the Rest are Up at Four

Label: Immune

Review date: Sep. 30, 2013

Jaime Fennelly’s Mind Over Mirrors is the true dark star. The Chicago-based one-man band never misses a chance to set up his rig of harmonium and oscillators in the middle of floor, which puts him beyond the reach of stage lighting but also enables audiences to orbit around him. Fennelly, who used to play with Chris Forsyth and Fritz Welch in Peeesseye, matches this astronomical configuration with music that echoes the kosmische musiks of days gone by without overtly imitating them. On “The Fence,” slow rhythms squelch like those of Cluster in their mid 70s prime, and the reedy belch of his keyboard and the dogged repetition he requires it to enact bring to mind Terry Riley back in the days when he shaped air in his hands.

But where both of those parties favored a spindly delicacy, perhaps mindful of the necessity to travel light if you’re an astronaut, Fennelly’s music is fat and unabashedly heavy; he’s not the passenger, he’s the payload. The tape has never sounded more saturated than it does on When the Rest are Up at Four, the fourth Mind Over Mirrors record.

On “Innumerable Step,” the bass drone seems to be forcing up the earth like some impending volcanic disaster; everything is heaving. If you measure the worth of a drone by the amount of action that lurks behind its surface sameness, this record is the mother lode. Fennelly doesn’t just sound notes, he makes them flicker, pulse, and heave from side to side. He exploits the lungs-like action of his bellows-fueled keyboard to imbue each note with the qualities of breath. But paradoxically MOM’s tones have never sounded more electronic. Once Fennelly feeds his sounds into the circuits, they acquire a glow whose presence you could read with a Geiger counter. A dark star in concert, When The Rest Are Up At Four is Mind Over Mirror’s supernova.

By Bill Meyer

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