Flanger Magazine - After The Bend LP (Students of Decay, 2022)
"After the Bend is the second album from Louisville based Flanger Magazine, and the follow up to FM’s 2018 debut, Breslin. Whereas Breslin was the solo creation of Christopher Bush, an album noted for “an astute synthesis of ‘library music’ and solo acoustic guitar,” and “a seamless blend into the uncluttered and airier side of classic 1970’s giallo,” After the Bend is an ensemble affair. An ecosystem, a perfect mutualism bodies forth—of strings, outdoor recordings, electronics, reeds, and percussion—featuring new FM players Anna Krippenstapel (Frekons (Freakwater + Mekons), The Other Years), Jim Marlowe (Equipment Pointed Ankh, Tropical Trash, Sapat), Eric Lanham and Benjamin Zoeller (both from Caboladies). The various combos perform with both a distinguished efficacy and unhurried Sunday drift—charged and beautiful, pulsating and pleasing. The production is subtle and tasteful. Mutating past the old saws of bounded individualism, a strange form of tentacular life accrues, cyborgian-fungral-tangles of the more-than-human variety.
Robert Beatty’s cover art of otherworldly and interconnected river-scape gradients, coupled with song titles like “Reservoir,” “Falls Fountain Removed,” and “Sympathies for the River,” cue and clue the listener toward a river as a singular multitude analogue for the album. Interstitial gaps, clearings and openings give rise and merge into an accumulated flow from the tributaries of spirited improvisational performance, palimpsestic song cycles, and high fidelity studio production. The composite sound-image of After the Bend refuses to put both oars down into any one of the eddies of the folk, sound, chamber, electronic, or jazz idioms, and instead glides along the currents found within the slipstreams between.
Gathering samples, a River Doctor Limnologist inspecting the properties of After the Bend might note the specter of Leroy Jenkin’s free-violin heat-light deepin the water’s thermal stratification. Or mortgage the late-Maestro’s time with Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza to pay down the growing river heat budget. Or take one’s dirty buckets to the banks of the 19th laundromat where Walt Dickerson plays his vibraphone parts from Divine Gemini with dowsing rods. Or excavate the bedrock in the drainage basin, noting skeletal remains of a Shostakovich string quartet attempting to tune up a Kentucky Fiddle’s subsequent influence on the chemical composition of the water. Or consult the historical revisionist reenactment troupe’s episode of Fishing with John (Fahey) in which Codona, The Sea Ensemble and Nuno Canavarro guest host as their fleet of paddle boats churn river water into a regal lager, and all the fish get drunk in their quest for the leaner enamel Hosianna Mantra GPS coordinates of the Fattened Herb.
Bush and Marlowe recorded and produced the album at End of an Ear Studios, located in the Portland neighborhood, in the west end of the city of Louisville, bordering the Ohio River, between Kentucky’s Upper South and the Indiana’s Midwest, during the first year of the global pandemic, amidst the planet’s sixth great extinction event. As good a time to be alive as any other." - Kris Abplanalp)