Roy Montgomery - Suffuse


Despite praise and acclaim throughout his career, Roy Montgomery
hates his singing. From his point of view, it’s done out of necessity,
when he doesn’t have anyone else around to substitute. Roughly one
quarter of Montgomery’s epic multi-album 2016 release R M H Q had
his singing, and those are his least favorite tracks.

Grapefruit has done the best they can to argue that his basso
undertones are the center of his appeal throughout his entire body of
work, from the first The Pin Group single on Flying Nun in 1981,
through his work in Dadamah, Dissolve and on to his legendary
’90s solo releases. However, is it a surprise he jumped at the idea
of composing an album for other vocalists? This began as a series
of alternate takes of the material on Tropic Of Anodyne, the tracks
with vocals off his last release. That concept morphed into assembling
vocalists to sing on new songs, and he conceived instrumental material
that would fit each singer. Half of the songs came together, resulting
in Suffuse.

The album charts a slow progression from those who share
similarities with Montgomery’s rumbling vocal technique to those
who come at singing differently, with minute contrasts throughout.
Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux) and Jessica Larrabee (She Keeps
Bees) bring the first two tracks, with Katie Von Schleicher following
with a raw expression of emotional loss, and the sisters Clementine
and Valentine Nixon (Purple Pilgrims) expressing emptiness
by stripping away words, weaving their voices together through
Montgomery’s elastic webbing. Julianna Barwick adds drive and
nuance to the foamy sonic waves of “Sigma Octantis,” as “Landfall”
crashes in slow motion chaos over Liz Harris’s (Grouper) multitracked
layers. These compositions generously embrace their guest
leaders, and for the first time in his career, Roy Montgomery has made
a cogent artistic argument as to why he shouldn’t be singing these
songs himself.