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Matt Valentine - Creek to Creation

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Artist: Matt Valentine

Album: Creek to Creation

Label: Qbico

Review date: Feb. 8, 2005

Matt “MV” Valentine, along with Erika “EE” Elder, has slowly leaked out a constantly expanding body of work in recent years as Tower Recordings, The MV & EE Medicine Show and his own name. Together MV & EE have formulated a modern, psychedelic-blues shanty by giving shelter to releases of various mediums (chapbook, CD-R, DVD-R) and artists via their own Vermont-based Child of the Microtones imprint. Though perched in the New England woods, the COM missives are not always as easy to come by as this dandy LP from the Italian QBICO; a label specializing in wondrous cosmic gluttony (check out the fine A-Band or Conrad Schnitzler LPs).

Creek to Creation is quite a smoky peak within Valentine’s vinyl output. Here the folk-form gives way to openness and the absorbent natural world more than other MV recordings these ears have heard before. Across the two sides, Valentine’s gauzy blues scriptures morph into miniature rhythms at a nodding pace that gently warps the time and space immediately around you. His deep aural sheen of prism tones has become the point of cohesion for his solo and Medicine Show recordings. Creek To Creation sculpts it perfectly.

“Mediations On Out of Nowhere” spans nearly the entire A-side. Valentine’s banjo pulses more like a folk-based sax riff readying for lift off than string finger-spinning. The repetitive mode sings itself steady and rises to a holler near the end. The mind-swelling wordage he has belted out live and on Space Chanteys is absent here and throughout the album. Dredd Foole, Vermont’s free-folk poet laureate and COM labelmate, fills the space in epic style. Foole lets out some devastating vocal chant/warble that drifts effortlessly down the creek and alongside aqua-tone calls by the ever-present Erika Elder and Time-Lag Records’ operator Nemo Bidstrup. Chris Corsano also appears from below, tapping out distant jump beats that hint at his sense of nuance. In all, “Mediations On Out of Nowhere” is a grand tale of babble and illusion that could hold its own.

The flipside brings the guitar tangles back along with the gooey smears of psychedelia. After the serene beauty of “Lunette #2,” the allegorical trilogy “Ring of Yod” begins. “The Tree of Life” is the 12-string portion with Indian modes peering around the corners. Bidstrup surfaces with some Saturnian Moog shape shifting while Elder joins in on an array of instruments from tambura, sutri box and the electric jug (see 13th Floor Elevators for full potential of this wallop) while melting into Pt. 2, “The Fall Into Time,” and finally “The Garden.” The distinct sound of each player fades into the timbers and expands into one force while the record eases toward close.

As a whole, the Creek to Creation song-cycle glides across the celestial waterbed of sound and echoes backs like the tingly reflections your eye catches off ripples. This is the Valentine album to grab before it’s too late.

By Eric Weddle

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