August 13, 2013

Muuy Biien: No One Is On My Side (For You)

Independent Release

muuy biien no one is on my side.jpg

Josh Evans' early, sparing solo work under the Muuy Biien moniker (as well as his Very Guud stage project) is a far cry from Muuy Biien's combative full-band bombast. No One Is On My Side (For You), Evans' new solo EP, is an unforeseen, if not unwelcome, retreat back into sonic minimalism. The glacial tones that characterize the EP alternately take the form of downcast guitar loops (most notably on "Recovered" and "Shakes," both of which display subtle black-metal melodic sensibilities) and heavenly drone.

"Softly" and "Slouch" are two of the most arrestingly gorgeous pieces Evans has recorded. The former is a glassy, flatlining death-whisper of a song; the latter is a dense, undulating tune that is unapologetically blissful, like Fennesz circa Endless Summer if he left the laptop at home. For another point of reference, the push-and-pull throughout also recalls Leyland Kirby's work as The Caretaker: all creaky, decaying loops and spatial-emotional reconfiguration.

On first listen, No One is a passive work, and its song titles ("Indifference"; the aforementioned "Softly"; even, yes, "Passive") seem to suggest it's meant for background listening. Instead, the album represents a giant leap forward for Evans. In some ways, the rocker's cloudy drones are as doomy as his band's most anarchic output. But for the first time, there is also a certain majesty involved, a dim light parting the gloomy skies. 4 out of 5.