As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Black Eagle Child.
The myriad work of Michael Jantz, who prefers such wizened nom de plumes like W.A. Munson or the oft used Black Eagle Child, has found a secure foothold in a scene that is forsaking the simple sounds of guitar for the trumped up drones, dins, and distortions of the stringed instrument. Following in step with plucking luminaries past and present, Jantz’s work throughout Poland--released via Donato Epiro‘s (a fabulous musician in his own right) Italian-based Sturmundrugs label—is as elegant and serene as the sincerest guitar strums history has offered.
Poland finds Jantz’s exquisite guitar work juxtaposed with cascading waves of accordion, glockenspiel, and atmospheric field recordings. The breadth of the album may center upon the Black Eagle Child signature of lilting steel filling up space but it’s the subtle use of texture from the secondary sounds that lends the album its Cloud Nine breeziness. Despite reserving the term ‘lullaby’ for Poland‘s final two tracks (one for his new child, the other for his wife), the whole of Poland is indeed a lullaby that offers up a comfortable blanket and a warm caress.
Stripped of the pomp and wizardry crowding emerging guitar virtuosos’ albums, Poland delves into the inherent beauty to be found between man and instrument. This rudimentary give and take between flesh and steel produces a sound that reminds all of the creature comforts music continually delivers. Michael Jantz by any other name will sound as sweet.