Country : United States Label : Genres and styles : Experimental / Contemporary / Free Improvisation Year : 2023

brad allen williams – œconomy

· by Varun Swarup

Colorfield Records inaugurate the year 2023 in style with another eclectic release, this time around from guitarist/composer brad allen williams. Known for his work with singers Bilal, Brittainy Howard, and as part of Nate Smith’s Kinfolk band, œconomy sees brad allen williams staking his claim as an independent artist. 

The impetus for the album lies in williams’ commitment to take guitar music to new places, an ambitious goal when the instrument’s potential seems to have been all but exhausted. williams then uses the guitar’s very unoriginality as a point of reference in making a sort of postmodernist work that relishes in intertextuality, allusion and simply having fun. In williams’ own words, “self-conscious avoidance of all the electric guitar’s accumulated cultural baggage sometimes feels reflexive, and I found myself doing a lot of it during the making of this album.” The result then is an album that treads some truly wild ground, but what ultimately holds this work together is williams’ love for guitar heroism and knack for experimentalism. 

œconomy was composed in the studio, and although it could be my hindsight bias speaking, the compositions here feel suitably fresh, with a real improvisatory and exploratory spirit which runs the course of neoclassical, electronica, psychedelia, bossa, exotica, and jazz streams. Mark Giuliana, in fine form as always, brings a broad dynamic range to the drums on which he is featured. Especially lovely are the lush string arrangements that williams himself scored, and Pete Min’s production is crisp, clean and well balanced considering all the elements present. While the aesthetic of œconomy may give an air of heady esotericism, the soundscapes are accessible enough with moments of challenge that make for a rewarding and compelling listen. 

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