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Jonathan Kane - I Looked at the Sun

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Artist: Jonathan Kane

Album: I Looked at the Sun

Label: Table of the Elements

Review date: Aug. 20, 2006

Jonathan Kane’s been around for decades, beating the tubs for Rhys Chatham, La Monte Young, and the Swans amongst others, but he didn’t take his first bow as a solo recording artist until last fall. But what a debut — February’s blend of NYC minimalist and electric blues trance modes was enormously promising and eminently satisfying.

I Looked At The Sun is a two-song EP that doesn’t stray far from the ground cleared by its predecessor; the differences are of degree, not kind. As before, he works mostly alone; San Agustin’s David Daniell plays some guitars, but otherwise Kane plays everything. “BQE” varies from Kane's trademark beat, which creates room for Daniell’s pedal steel to chime and unfurl like vapor trails over a vast unvarying plane.

It’s a pleasant amuse-bouche but nowhere near as intense as the titular Mississippi Fred McDowell cover, which is as remorseless in its momentum as a wheat thresher with a well-filled tool box on the gas pedal. Kane’s drums swagger purposefully over an implacable bass pulse. The guitars stack up as gradually, starting with idiomatically bluesy licks, then lunging in short distorted forays, and finally rising in a tower of tart, interlocking riffs. It’s white-line fever transmuted into sound, the song that’ll take the wheel and drive your car across Kansas without ever hitting the shoulder.

By Bill Meyer

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