impressionistic poetry of space and movement

Tropics and Meridians

June of 44 (Quarterstick)

By Ray Rizzo

Tropics and MeridiansBy June of 44 is a rare musical experience that enters the ears and insists that all other senses respond. Bob Weston's second recording of the band is a marriage of mood and music that defies dissection. The result is an impressionistic experience, with voices shaping structures, but never commanding attention away from the sonic whole. Tropics and Meridians plays like a song cycle, with song titles that read like names of ships set out upon black seas to chart the currents of the modern world. But June of 44 are aware that for every successful navigation lie cities of sunken ships silenced by water. This is poetry of space and movement that sings of the paralysis of distance and dead birds on highways of progress.

June of 44 use their eight arms independently and in unison to create Tropics and Meridians, exhibiting a capacity for pushing musical envelopes (like the 3/4 quasi-bluegrass/samba of "Arms Over Arteries"). Drummer Doug Scharin and bassist Fred Erskine hold impenetrable grips on the movements of each composition, emerging with fills and counterpoint that display clear musical motives (listen to the bass guitar in "Sanctioned in a Birdcage," or the drum intro to "Anisette"). From above, beneath, and the periphery, the counter guitar work of Jeff Mueller and Sean Meadows solidify June of 44's awesome dynamic. The two play a yin/yang opposition that can create fantastic space and emotion ("Lawn Bowler"), and relentless groove walls ("June Leaf").

A balance of primal and cerebral reactions drives through Tropics and Meridians' 37 minutes of music. It is a focused gift from visionary musicians that unsettles you like the end of "Empire Strikes Back," when Han Solo rises frozen from Lando's machine -- not dead, but not alive. It is powerful log and testament from the dark seas of June of 44.