Tristan Welch | 40 Hours
Verses Records (LP/DL)
Hailing from the environs of the US capitol, the latest from artist/activist Tristan Welch may touch on a peculiarly, little talked about social divide – the true “working artist.” No, I mean the type (like yours truly) who is both a creative, and finding alternative ways of making ends meet in a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to earn a living as an artist in the “real world.” I hope I’m not assuming anything, but judging from the cover art, titles and such, 40 Hours seems a lament of the everyday.
The melodic guitar strings on his fourth album likely divulge something about an uncertain psychic wear and tear. The upwardly moving twang of Welch’s playing provides a canvas for the common man, the pursuit of your vision, even with obstacles and certain costs along the way. It’s emotional but more hopeful than anything else. These pieces all sort of run into each other as the titles imply: Monday through Friday. As such he embeds a nod to monotony in the way in which chords overlap and part, that alongside a stray drone that seems to serve as a slow moving auditory ‘canvas’.
Uncommonly Earnest: Once you arrive at the end of the week, Welch plucks his instrument with more pep accompanied by the smooth sax of Ron Oshima. Betwixt moments there are cadences that poke from the school of Angelo Badalamenti circa his Twin Peaks days. The duo are in harmonic conversation on Friday, a piece of luminous color, faded and downbeat. It is a sound that grazes the senses like a swollen jazz mixed with minimal electronic melody. As this session closes with the ultimate bonus track, Minimum Wage, there’s a fleeting sensation coming through, moving forward, stepping back. It’s all in the slow-motion of the reverb, which is icy and quite substantial. This record sounds out of its time and element somewhat, and will likely appeal to listeners of Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Pam Am, Windy & Carl or other melancholic ambient drifters.