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    Roy Montgomery: Inroads

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reissuing seventeen out-of-print instrumentals (and introducing five unreleased ones) by seminal NZ guitarist roy montgomery (dadamah, hash jar tempo).

hypnotic ragas, floating sound-clouds and ecstatic rock. released feb 2007.

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Roy Montgomery: Sterling Morrison Corner 10th and First 1966 by rebisproductions

 


reviews

"Fabled New Zealand guitarist Roy Montgomery is given a retrospective with this vital double disc that gathers 22 tracks from various sources, mostly out of print or unreleased. TitledPaved (Disc 1) and Unpaved (Disc 2), Inroads reveals a unique style that breaks away from the usual (and somewhat overplayed) American Primitive/Takoma route that so many solo guitarists choose to wander, and plunges into a thorny thicket of multitracked reverberation that pays homage to the likes of John Martyn, Loren Conners and Sterling Morrison. Montgomery's real skill, however, is to produce fascinating trance-inducing guitar music that drones and rocks at the same level of intensity, like a one-man Velvet Underground."

-Edwin Pouncey, The Wire #277, March 2007

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We've always had a soft spot for New Zealand's incredibly fertile underground rock scene, and the glorious noises it produces, these days it's outfits like the Dead C, Birchville Cat Motel, Antony Milton, 1/3 Octave Band, Sandoz Lab Technicians, Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood, Lamp Of The Universe, Lugosi, Lovely Midget, Dean Roberts, Pumice, Omit, but a few years back, it was a whole different scene, well okay, except for the Dead C maybe, but there was a hugely thriving scene and even back then we couldn't get enough. All those bands who sewed the seeds, the bands that paved the way for the groups who make us cd-r crazy today. Folks like Alastair Galbraith Trash, Gate, Golden, Tall Dwarfs, Bill Direen, David Kilgour, Cakekitchen, The Clean, Dadamah, Dissolve, King Loser, Space Dust and of course the legendary Roy Montgomery. Montgomery did time in the groups Dadamah and Dissolve, both of whom were amazing, but it's when he struck out on his own, just him and his guitar, some delay, maybe a little reverb, that's when we really fell in love.

Inroads collects all sorts of singles, and compilation tracks, as well as a handful of unreleased songs, and reminds us just why we loved Montgomery, and how much we've been missing his blissed out solo guitar space rock. And that's exactly what this is, space rock, not so much rock as space, every single track is totally mesmerizing, multitracked reverb drenched nirvana, some super spare and simple, drifting and abstract, others tangled and dense, thick and aggressive. His sound is so unique, so totally singular, the second we pushed play on this, even though most of us hadn't heard him in years, we would have known immediately who it was.

Which speaks volumes about a record of mostly JUST guitar. How expressive and emotive and deeply personal Montgomery's guitar playing really is. Lyrical and melodic, even at its spaciest. All of the obvious adjectives apply here, shimmering, glistening, sparkling, but Montgomery doesn't just make sounds, letting his guitar drone and drift, these are songs, riffs, beautiful and memorable and catchy, dark and spacey and dreamy, complex fingerpicking, simple strumming, subtle shadings of tone and timbre, it doesn't matter what he does or how he does it, it always sounds like him. And it always sounds divine.

-Aquarius Records New Arrivals #257

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I'm fully convinced that at the tips of Roy Montgomery's fingers are some kind of synapse or nerve that let's the him actually feel the vibrations being created with each pluck of his guitar and stay in control of these feelings as they later leave his amp as cluttered soundwaves. The experimental guitar player from New Zealand was brought up on the electric through garage rock and post-punk in the 70s and early 80s with stints in Pin Group and the Shallows, where he honed an interest in the drone aesthetic, before leaving the music scene. He reappeared in the 90s with dirge rock group Dadamah and continued his space-psyche sound in collaborations with Flying Saucer Attack and Bardo Pond. But this 2-disc compilation, culled from comp tracks and 7 inches, focuses in on the matured sound of Montgomery whose solo releases on Kranky, Drunken Fish and VHF gained him recognition and a cult following as an otherworldly guitar player and artist. The first disc of Inroads concentrates on the more ambient and melancholy side of Montgomery. His hypnotic guitar solos are not the product of perfected tone or technique, but the manipulation of his instrument to produce sounds alien to traditional method. Recorded mostly on simple Tascam 4-tracks, Montgomery eases his guitar to tape letting each vibration fully developed and degrade with care, which make songs like "On the Road 2" so mesmerizing with the knowledge that it's all coming from a single instrument. On more than one occasion, it resembles a mystic, timeless form of raga. The second disc, on the other hand, features Montgomery's more emphatic and noisier side. Tracks like "Sister Clean" sound like Sandy Bull strapped with an electric and tour-worn amp covering a looping piece from Reich; he utilizes the reverberated overtones as much as the original soundwaves to create one throbbing creature of sound. During the following track, "Last Days of Mankind," rays of higher frequencies find your ears through a typhoon of feedback adding extra stabs of awe to the already unbelievable sound. Montgomery has an undeniable understanding of the evolution of sound after it leaves the instrument and the foresight to control the reverberations well before they start to weave themselves into the already vibrating tapestry of frequencies, not as much a wall of sound but a living, breathing entity in its own. He finds a much-needed niche between the acid-induced psychedelic guitar rock of yesteryear and the drone experiments so popular today.

- Michael Ardaiolo, Audiversity, Jan 11, 2007

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