Jim O’Rourke – Bad Timing

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Album Information:

Released in 1997 by Drag City


Review:

First track “There’s Hell in Hello, but more in Goodbye” eases you in with 10 minutes of meditative Fahey-esque fingerpicking, mostly solo guitar but occasionally joined by subtle piano and organ overdubs. “94 the Long Way”, the 13 minute second track, starts off with more sparse fingerpicking. The recording is great and captures all of those beautiful harmonic overtones that acoustic guitars. In the middle of the track, piano, slide guitar, and synth begin to creep in sequentially to join the lonely acoustic guitar in its wandering. As the song begins to build, celebratory horn arrangements join the proceeding, leading to a joyful crescendo that eventually fades out back to the lone guitar for a blissfully peaceful outro. The title track starts off side B, continuing the journey with some more pastoral fingerpicking. An ecstatic cloud of instruments, what sounds like accordion, organ, and maybe xylophones, descend upon the guitar, enveloping it in a pulsating drone that eventually lifts the song off the ground and carries it into the wind. A deep, buzzing synth starts off album-closer “Happy Trails”, an uninterrupted continuation of the last track. The chords in this one take on a more ominous tone. Right as the synth drone starts to feel oppressive, it abruptly drops out, leaving the guitar alone again for a contemplative journey home. The album ends with a homecoming celebration full of horns, slide guitar, and the first/only drum groove on the entire album. Once again the guitar is left to reflect on its adventures, wrapped in a comforting blanket of string and horn swells.

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