Auxillary Out – Nov 3/10
Terrascope – August 2010
The opener, “Small Triumphs,” is meditative, almost bucolic, with a gradually building majesty. A couple of haunted, slightly askew steel string workouts follow, with “The Culprits” particularly notable for its eerie slide work at the end. Likewise, both “Moments Between” and “A Day Like Any Other” are almost twins, haunting spare meditations.
Overtly joined are the two parts of “April L’occhi.” The first part, short at under two minutes, offer minimal, short, electric guitar ambient tones, whereas “Pt.2” is a more spectral atmospheric development of the originally stated melody. Mucci works solo throughout, the only exception being on the country-noir of “Chase Down Alice,” which features a very restrained full band.
“Time Lost” is, while not as disorienting as the title might suggest, is a solid meditation on the ecstatic and hermetic potential of the guitar. This is ground covered by everyone from Fahey to Blackshaw to, more recently, Bill Orcutt. But Michael Mucci has been sitting with his Shadow and facing it as honestly and openly as any of those artists. Through two full-lengths and a few EPs, Mucci has shown grit, daring, and respect enough for his instrument to let it speak for itself, as well as to let it pause, and echo. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (28 July, 2010)
The Silent Ballet – June 6/10
The acoustic guitar, in one incarnation or another, has been around for perhaps a millennium. Nowadays, frequent appearances of guitar players in subways and at barbecues suggest that this is a pretty easy instrument to pick up and strum, unless - like this writer - one lacks the necessary co-ordination and has stumpy fingers. As is always the case, an instrument that seems easy enough to pick up and play takes years to properly master, and there are relatively few who have put in the time on the acoustic guitar, certainly in comparison to the electric guitar, the acoustic's upstart younger brother.
So whilst even today, the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page get the magazine covers and the mainstream plaudits, (a recent edition of contemporary music hipster bible the NME featured Hendrix as its cover star, and the deceased star is regularly celebrated in the likes of Mojo and Uncut), the giants of the acoustic guitar are largely forgotten. Ask the next person you meet to name a solo acoustic guitarist and if you don't get a blank stare, you might get the answer 'John Williams'; better still if they don't think he's the guy who composed the Star Wars theme. With everybody gaga for the electric guitar, the acoustic maestros fell by the wayside, uncared for and overlooked. Of course, these artists didn't always help themselves - Davy Graham struggled for years with a drug habit and retired from performance for three decades or so, whilst John Fahey was reduced to living out of his car for a while after suffering a string of illnesses and broken relationships.
Fahey and Graham were massive influences on subsequent generations of guitarists, and their styles can be heard everywhere from Simon & Garfunkel to James Blackshaw. Perhaps the highest profile of the recent wave of players, Jim O'Rourke's fingerpicking technique on Bad Timing was heavily indebted to Fahey, a style that is also utilised by M. Mucci on Time Lost, which shares more than just a mention of 'time' in the title. That the Canadian Mucci also lists 'Blind Joe Death', one of Fahey's aliases, alongside his hometown in a short list of influences underlines the style found here.
The eight-track album opens in confident fashion with the lengthy "Small Triumphs". Mucci builds on a circular pattern which gradually broadens out, with the eventual addition of a little extra instrumentation. (Everything here is played and overdubbed by Mucci himself, apart from the frantic percussion of "Chase Down Alice St".) The playing throughout is strident, not to be reduced to background ambience but to be the centre of attention; Mucci has focused on putting together a coherent arc for this album, rather than shooting in all directions (as he did on his debut, Under The Tulip Tree), and his focus rewards our attention.
Whilst Time Lost is Fahey-inspired, it is by no means a mere retread of the late man's work; it takes the Blind Joe Death records as a starting point for Mucci's personal exploration, in the same way that O'Rourke did on Bad Timing. (It is, however, a touch disappointing to note that there are no explosions of bluegrass here.) The two parts of "Apri L'occhi" offer a little relief from the finger-picking, providing a cooling ambience which Mucci may explore elsewhere; recorded a year before the rest of the album, they fit in perfectly to the overall mood whilst adopting a different playing technique. By dint of the instrument he's chosen, Mike Mucci is unlikely to find himself on the cover of a classic rock guitarist magazine, but he's got the chops and he's got the tunes, and on Time Lost he's made a cracking album worthy of its antecedents. - Jeremy Bye
Anti Gravity Bunny
This record is an utterly fantastic showcase of supreme guitar pickin. I'm no guitar pickin expert, but I'd say Mucci's talents are gonna take him places. His hi-fi dusty Americana is classic & engaging, pretty much perfect for every occasion. Strolling through dead crunchy leaves by the brook, riding the subway, laying on your back in an open field, baking pies, stomping through puddles, chillin on the night beach, non-raging parties. You can listen to it anytime. Dinner, literally, anytime.
Time Lost is top notch lush & twangy guitar, with the occasional percussion. It just fills the room with delicate dreams and makes everything all right. Stream the whole thing on Bandcamp then grab the limited LP, complete with amazing encaustic artwork, and be happy for the rest of your life.
The CD kicks off with a couple tracks where Mucci sets the tone and tempo with his thumb. The first, “Small Triumphs” with just solid time keeping and the second, “The View From Here” with a great driving feel. This tune and the following, “The Culprits” are fantastic works in the modern Takoma tradition. What I like best about cuts two and three is how aggressive Mucci is with the thumb, just hammering out the rhythm.
“The Culprits” has the added surprises that it starts off with some weird noises and suddenly pops into the strong finger picking, once you are grooving on that he slams into slide playing to wrap the song. Really a strong piece.
The calm interludes “Apri L’occhi” parts 1 and 2 appear at the end of each side of the LP, though that distinction is lessened by the fact that I am listening to the CD version. But part 2 at the end of the CD is indeed a nice ending to the CD. The first, “Apri L’occhi” works on the CD as an excellent transition from a solo guitar piece to a full band piece, “Chase Down Alice St.”
Mucci’s use of percussion through out this effort is judicious and never gets in the way of the guitar playing. No, in fact I think it is a nice addition to the feel of the recording as a whole resulting in a lush feel throughout the experience.
One of my favorite aspects of the music is how closely together Mucci has put the tracks. The time between is barely a beat and it binds the music into a whole. That and the fact that the songs flow well from one to the other. Though they are clearly different, the effort feels like one large composition.
This is a limited quantity release on LP with a download included. The digital only price is great. Go visit MMucci.com and check out all the tracks.
Work and Worry Blog (http://workandworry.com/2010/07/02/review-m-mucci-time-lost/#more-1529)
by Raymond Morin
For avid fans of instrumental acoustic guitar music, there aren’t many real surprises anymore. These days, it’s hard to imagine a new player who could hit the scene and affect a seachange along the lines of, say, Davy Graham’s restless early experiments with Middle Eastern motifs, or John Fahey’s genre-spawning blues distillations. Even two of today’s most head-turning young instrumentalists, James Blackshaw and Kaki King, earned their reputations not by reinventing the wheel, but by designing their breakthrough recordings around the musical templates of Robbie Basho and Michael Hedges, respectively.
…and what’s wrong with that? After all, innovation isn’t everything. Indeed, when it comes to guitarists, it seems that those who decide to eschew tradition entirely tend to lean on gimmicks… more strings, more effects, atonality, more notes and played FASTER! All of those things can be great in small doses, but at the end of the day, when someone sits down behind a six (or twelve) string wooden box, I hope to hear something musical. It doesn’t have to be tricky, it doesn’t have to be fast, and it doesn’t have to be a revelation… give me a little soul, just the right amount of technique and some compositional flare, and you might very well have a fan for life!
Time Lost is the new album by guitarist M.Mucci, and on first listen, it seems perfectly in sync with what’s happening in underground acoustic guitar at this moment in time. There are strong echoes of Fahey, as well as the current crop of Takoma-inspired players. Opening track “Small Triumphs” particularly reminds me of Israeli guitarist Yair Yona, with its warm, strummed chords and lazy slide giving way to a patient, melancholy pattern-picking section. As Time Lost unfolds, Mucci, like Yona, betrays a healthy indie and post-rock influence in his approach to recording and arranging, and more often than not, that sensibility helps to keep the momentum going and the songs interesting.
Second track “The View From Here” gets just a little more sinister, featuring tense chords and an insistent boom-chick in the bass. Again, this isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before, but Mucci plays cleanly and with conviction, and his obvious affection for the style helps to sell the piece. “The Culprits” continues both the mood and tempo, but with a slight ramp-up in dynamics after a very C. Joynes-esque prepared guitar intro. Mucci brings in a little aggressive slide playing before the close of the piece, which doesn’t really take the song anywhere… if anything it calls attention to the composition’s repetitive nature and lack of a real melody.
The album features two short, watery dirges entitled “April L’occhi Pt. 1” and “April L’occhi Pt. 2,” each closing a side on the vinyl version (which, incidentally, is a limited edition of 300 copies). At first, these segues again put me in mind of Yona, and some of the post-rock production touches that he employs on his Remember album. Listening further, though, I’m more inclined to infer the influence of Robert Fripp and his “Frippertronics” washes of ambient, tape-looped electric guitar. It’s probably complete coincidence, but the “April…” bits sound like they could be right at home on Fripp’s Exposure album.
The Fripp/King Crimson vibe returns again on “A Day Like Any Other,” which has Mucci picking in 5/8 time along to some minimal but effective cymbal work. The mood here is foreboding, and again more pattern than melody oriented, but the song’s dynamics, odd time signatures and various arrangement elements give it a more unique and personalized sound, causing it to stand out from the American Primitive pack.
Along with side two’s opening “Chase Down Alice St.,” an energetic song that features kit drumming by Robb Cappelletto, “A Day…” shows that though Mucci may not be trying to rewrite the book on acoustic guitar, he definitely has some ideas of his own. M. Mucci has succeeded in creating a nuanced, interesting and at times quite exciting record, one that not only shows great promise, but also stands up to the work of many of today’s revered young fingerpickers.
Commissioned by Michael Mucci, a musician from Guelph, this moon piece was inspired by another done a few years ago. Michael’s music is very meditative and beautiful, and listening to it as I worked on the painting really informed the piece. This will be the cover for his LP which is available in July 2010 from www.mmucci.com