It’s rare that an artist’s debut comes after seven years recording seven unreleased albums. Such is the case with Chicago-based composer Ben LaMar Gay and Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun. Over its 15 tracks, Gay plays out a palimpsest of his previous work; collaborations with mutant funk trio Bottle Tree, jazz trumpeter Jaimie Branch and synth-loopers Bitchin Bajas. The result is a record of endless depth and unpredictability. There are Steve Reich-influenced polyrhythms on Music for 18 Hairdressers, thudding techno kicks on Muhal, and an eerie ambience on Melhor Que Tem. Rather than leaping from genre to genre, Gay creates an immersive soundscape. And with those first seven records now being released each month, there is, thankfully, much more to come from this restless polymath.
Read the review in the Guardian.
[This piece was published on 21/12/18]