Mike Cooper – White Shadows in the South Seas (CD Room40)
White Shadows in the South Seas is a digitalized instant summer that would make Sun Araw’s Cameron Stallone jealous. Jealous because this record has the ability to record hazy views existing during shimmery mornings while the world is still asleep, with a close sun present already busy with vaporizing those snapshots as if they’d never existed. Here one can witness it all, in high definition.
No doubt that this is a guitar album, like for example Chris Forsyth’s Kenzo Deluxe was a guitar album. What this album makes absolute worthwhile is the setting. All of this record breathes pacific scenery and indeed here are tropical aesthetics at work ; the playful bass lines, the slide guitar that plays a main role and the overall sun drenched feel these tracks form an allegory of inner peace, fragments shifting through a looking glass displayed in many bright colors. Cooper is a master of timing as well; extremely relaxed sliding guitar notes float through hazy moods and then, just before things could become boring Cooper reinvents the scene and gives birth to new found atmospheric and fascinating soundscapes. As the record progresses, it sets for stranger destinations, and we experience day making place for night, where sounds accompany voodoo rituals rather than paying tribute to Polynesian beaches only. The music becomes darker, more intense and loses its airy tranquility, and with this even the ever present crystal clear notes of the slide guitar are getting a more spooky character. Once arriving on those more distant shores the exotic excursions are becoming journeys through the brain if the listener allows them to be.These moments juxtaposed throughout 14 tracks create a very special experience that I did not expect, all though I am absolutely not complaining. It seems that whatever direction Cooper sets sail for, it is a place worth going. PvdG.