There are artists and performers out there that are so loved, that are so talented, that are so in tune with the art they make that they effortlessly rip through whatever landscape they come into contact with, wherever it is that they find themselves. This ripping is not necessarily destructive, but it definitely leaves a psychic mark on the land and the people of the land, and in turn the people of the people of the land.
COLIN LANGENUS is one of these benevolent leaving-his-mark types. Not because of any grandstanding or bellowing or anything like that; he simply is his own very talented self and he has traveled far with that idea. Pairing up magically with Thom Hohman in Boston, leading to the amazing USAISAMONSTER. Down to Virginia. Classic records on LOAD RECORDS. Then Brooklyn, scorching the place as USAISAMONSTER barreled toward oblivion. And now many records, much weirdness, and a number of bands deep in Brooklyn, the man is fully embedded. He even has his own recording studio over that way.
And in each of these East Coast locales and many in between (and some far beyond) Colin’s name is spoken of with love and reverence. Arms, multitudes of them, wait to embrace him.
“Sure,” you say, “but where is his music at?” Well, the above equation does not work if the music can’t hold its own. Colin has shown over and over, with stunning results at times, that music is his adventure, and that he knows the trails. Infinite Ease from a few years back (courtesy of NYC’s ever terrific NORTHERN SPY RECORDS) is to me the maximum post-USAISA . . . Colin L. experience. Cosmic, minimal country spilling out everywhere.
BUT, this new offering, PROVEN. It just came out, and while surely it helps that I know some of these songs from the live set, it’s still pretty amazing how deeply it already has its claws in me. Part dream-pop, jangling guitars, and falsetto swirling. Part Americana, a dirty word much of the time, but here describing a mix of beautiful folk song and American primitivism heavily aided by Boston underground hero and longtime Colin L. running mate Jonah Rapino (MASS DIST, DEVIL MUSIC, DEBO BAND). Nine songs of experimental pop of the prettiest and earthiest variety (some tracks of which appeared for the first time in a live setting via the Boston incarnation of THE COLIN L. ORCHESTRA). The songs, especially “Proven” and “Steamroller,” will keep GRATEFUL DEAD fans happy. “Transformation” offers up the other side of the Colin L. songs here, a minimal hypno-gospel track with a gurgling electronic underbelly that betrays the uplifting and soulful nature of the song’s chorus. Langenus plays everything on Proven except Rapino’s excellent violin contributions. Labor-of-love exploratory pop as fine as it comes. Expect it to keep coming from this guitar master, this mighty pillar of the American underground.