Etymology by Burnt Belief (Alchemy Records)
Jon Durant is an American guitarist and producer and is the owner of Alchemy Records. He’s played with the likes of King Crimson bassist Tony Levin and pianist Michael Whalen. In 2011 Durant and Porcupine Tree founding bassist Colin Edwin worked together on Durant’s Dance of the Shadow Planets album and joined forces as equal collaborators as Burnt Belief for their self-titled debut. On their follow-up Etymology they are augmented by the drummers Vinny Sabatino, Dean McCormick and Jose Duque.
On opening track Chromatique the drumming is energetic, skittering and funky, Durant’s guitar work is textured and draws the listener in, building tension until almost the end when he really lets loose like a light rain turning into a violent storm. Dissemble follows, with an interesting drum pattern and strings that evoke desert winds, Edwin playing a dubby groove. Precis takes a minute to get going, Durant and Edwin circling each other on their instruments, Durant layering riffs and textures throughout. On Hraunfossar the duo include what sounds like a flute in their dubby mix, delicate guitars build tension and just when you think its all going to get big and loud, Edwin lays down a juicy bass line that just oozes out of the speakers and the song coasts to the end in a slow groove.
Not Indifferent starts out slow and quiet and for the first half of its 12 minutes threatens to fizzle out into nothingness if not for Edwin’s slithering bass. But then the whole mood changes when clattering percussion and an electronic bass pattern are then introduced and Durant joins in with layered guitars: angry and vibrant and delicate and soothing, piling the various approaches on until you find yourself nodding along.
On Squall Durant and Edwin sound like they’re having fun riffing off of the various rhythms and each other, Durant providing one guitar tuning after another, all spinning and harmonizing with a violin sound giving the song an exotic yet funky air.
Etymology closes with Charlatan, Durant stabbing his guitar between treated hand drums and Edwin’s jazzy rhythmic interplay, getting spacey with odd synth effects. Durant’s epic harmonized guitar leads bring Etymology to a satisfying and uplifting end.
(by Bret Miller)