Nothing is more fun than putting on a record without knowing exactly what to expect and being blown away by it. Such is the case with Freight 1110 Through Greensboro (Full Spectrum Records), a multifaceted new collaborative record from Austin Glover and Eric Perreault that takes traditional American music and simultaneously honors it, renews it and turns it fully on its head.
Recorded by the duo in Greensboro, North Carolina, Freight 1110 is a musical chimera, drawing as much from modern minimalist composition and the digital world of sample looping as it does from the homegrown vernacular musical styles that circulated up and down the railroad tracks of the southeastern United States. What makes the record a treasure to listen to is the maturity with which these distinct components are mixed to create a new and yet believably authentic musical style; a sort of postmodern American Folkways recording that incorporates traditional instrumentation, musical phrasing and the work of 20th century poets e.e. cummings and W.B. Yeats in novel and surprising ways. The second piece on the record, 'book song' is a perfect example, opening with an a capella vocal part that multiplies in number before the ears, culminating in a gorgeous cacophany of words built upon a shining hill of overdubbed fiddles.
Not unlike a railroad journey, this is a record with a start and a destination, each tune its own unique station stop on the way. From the gently repeating piano vamp of 'The Living Flower' and quiet chamber arrangement-to-Philip Glass transformation of 'rain song,' to the barely-controlled chaos of 'Cummings, for ( )' Glover and Perreault demonstrate exceptional inventiveness and musical range. The end result is a journey you'll enjoy taking over and over again.