Portland guitarist Marisa Anderson takes her rustic Americana into distant places on Cloud Corner | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Portland guitarist Marisa Anderson takes her rustic Americana into distant places on Cloud Corner


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Portland guitarist Marisa Anderson makes music rooted in tradition and distinguished by a scuffed-up intimacy. She’s internalized multiple strains of rustic American sounds, including Delta blues and old-timey country, and remakes them with a decidedly handcrafted feel. In recent years she’s opened up her music to new influences, which is in part a result of heavy touring, sharing the stage, and recording with Saharan guitarists like Mdou Moctar and Kildjate Moussa Albadé, whose modal, trance-inducing work sounds like a lost relative of southern blues. Though Anderson’s aesthetic is too fully formed for outside forces to significantly alter her singular identity, these have given her work a greater, more mesmerizing depth. In June she’s dropping Cloud Corner, her strongest album yet and her debut for Thrill Jockey. On the record she adds subtle overdubs to her rolling electric fingerstyle patterns, such as the tender, atmospheric notes played on a Wurlitzer keyboard on “Lament,” and the brittle twang of requinto guitar on the looping riff that levitates the closing track, “Lift.” The lick that opens “Slow Ascent” sports the same tightly clustered thicket of notes Joe South plays on the intro to Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” but rather than shepherding a loping groove, Anderson dials in, spinning a gossamer web of reverberant sound that’s utterly hypnotic. Throughout the album, there’s more than a hint of the measured, lyric bluesy exploration Loren Mazzacane Connors forged in his Guitar Roberts guise, and touches of post-Fahey American Primitive technique, but Anderson sticks to her less virtuosic, less fussy approach, and ultimately takes great stock in the way her tangles of notes hang in the air, their overtones billowing out like clouds.   v

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