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Mike Cooper has a long history of making music. Born in the UK, he has a storied past of playing a blend of the blues, country and folk amongst the greats since the 1960’s. But what interests us here is his pioneering exploration of the intersections of traditional Pacific Islander music, the steel guitar and, most recently, looping and heavy experimentation with effects. Cooper’s latest release, White Shadows in the South Seas (ROOM40), continues the vaguely lysergic voyages through a serene tropical paradise. Field recordings of chirping birds, croaking frogs, and splashing water create an ambient milieu in which Cooper’s steel guitar sways easy. Delicate touches of delay give these aimless wanderings at times an expansive feel, while reversed loops of bells and dripping water twist and churn in insiduous rhythms. Cooper is indeed a master of conjuring hypnagogic trips through mystic rainforests and moonlit beaches. Bravo.

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