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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 191 - 04/06/12

Lee Ranaldo
Between The Times And The Tides

Lee Ranaldo has been Thurston Moore's dueling sidekick in Sonic Youth for more than 30 years. As a guitar noise-maker and tune-smith, Ranaldo has been an important part of the SY collective, creating the SY trademark soundscapes. As Moore and Kim Gordon have parted, and SY is on hold (permanently?), Ranaldo put out yet another solo album.

Between The Times And The Tides is Ranaldo's 9th solo album, following Maelstrom From Drift (2008). While most of his former outings have been in the loop/noise vein, ...Times & Tides shows the more melodic side of Ranaldo. A solid orchestra backs him through the album. SY drummer Steve Shelley adds his steady, trademark beat, while innovative guitarists Nels Cline (who's been adding his skills to - besides his solo career constellations - a lot of bands/artists, such as: Wilco, Thurston Moore, Mike Watt) and Alan Licht (a solo noise-minimalist composer/artist, as well as teaming up with Loren Mazzacane Connors, Run On, The Pacific Ocean, and more). John Medeski (who's been in a variety of bands - I had the pleasure of seeing Medeski, Billy Martin & Chris Wood at NYC's Tonic, 4th of July 1998) adds keyboards, while Irwin Menken plays bass. Here's even cameo appearances from old friends Jim O'Rourke (on bass) and Bob Bert (SY's former drummer). The "family" is complete with Ranaldo's wife, experimental artist Leah Singer, adding vocals to some tracks.

...Times & Tides isn't a mind-blowing album, but it's a record presenting Ranaldo's coolness and melodic sense. Plus, of course, a lot of neat, gifted guitars. You won't find many rough edges, noise and hardcore experimentalism. But you'll get to hear some good tunes, such as "Xtina As I Knew Her", the low-toned "Hammer Blows", "Fire Island (Phases)" with its excellent guitars, and the closing "Tomorrow Never Comes".

It's seems/sounds ...Times & Tides is an album filled with love-seeking songs. Is 56-year-old Ranaldo in the mood for love? He for sure loves guitars.

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