Texan interdisciplinary artist and guitarist Sandy Ewen releases her first solo LP | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Texan interdisciplinary artist and guitarist Sandy Ewen releases her first solo LP



Sandy Ewen’s music is a constant series of negotiations. She’s constantly seeing what new sounds she can get out of her guitar, using found objects such as steel-wool scrubbing pads, dowels, bolts, cat-grooming brushes, and lengths of chalk. She’s also an inveterate collaborator who relishes chances to test her compatibility with new acquaintances or to explore possibilities within her enduring partnerships with drummer Weasel Walter, bassist Damon Smith, and guitarist Tom Carter. When she plays with others, Ewen’s style changes according to their input, but her solo work is much more consistent, focusing on gradual transformations of timbre and texture. On the side-length title track of You Win, which is her first solo LP after a slew of CDs and cassettes, she works patiently through bell-like chimes, blown-speaker bursts, elongated whines, and wobbly resonances, testing each element against a couple of others. The shorter pieces on side two develop more quickly, but each one resolves with a satisfying completeness that demonstrates her concern with outcomes as well as processes. Ewen is an architect and visual artist as well as a musician, and she has used architectural-rendering software to compose videos for each of the albums tracks—their constantly morphing shapes and images are as texturally rich as the music itself.   v

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