Ryley Walker & Daniel Bachman: Of Deathly Premonitions Review
Last Spring two likeminded guitarists came together in Fredericksburg Virginia to collaborate on a handful of songs over the space of a few days. The two shared a love for Appalachian folk and turn of the century Americana as well as experimenters like Loren Connors and Sandy Bull. The musicians were Sacred Harp (Daniel Bachman) as well as Ryley Walker, and the result is Of Deathly Premonitions, a four song cassette out now on Plustapes.
The tape starts out with an incredibly dense guitar instrumental “Devil in the Old Dominion” in which Walker and Bachman deftly and rapidly play off of each other’s playing patterns for an epic seven minutes that comes to an intense climax before fading slowly away over the space of the tune’s last minute. “The Psychic Parish” slows things down with some heavily reverbed, psychedelic drone that twists and snakes its way over the space of eight and a half minutes. “Sunny Side of the Blue Ridge” prominently shows off the duo’s Appalachian/Americana roots with a short (for these guys) elegantly dense folk tune. Where the previous three tunes were stuffed to the gills with dexterously executed meanderings, final tune “A Most Loving Spirit” rounds the tape out with a softly minimalist lullaby of heavily muted, free form picking.
While occasionally the songs’ great lengths can at first glance seem a bit wandering and directionless, by giving a close listen it’s easy to hear that Bachman and Walker are never really quite lost as long as they have each other to work off of. The two make a wonderful dynamic as they add delicate layer upon layer atop of each other’s instrumentals, fingerpick by fingerpick. Of Deathly Premonitions may have been a one off collaboration shared over the space of a few beers and a few days, but Walker and Bachman seem to work well enough together that hopefully more collaboration will ensue.
— Jon Behm
You can download Of Deathly Premonitions in its entirety here.