John Jeffrey’s day-job – or, erm, night-gig more normally – is as the metronomic pulse-provider for Moon Duo. But during a break in their touring schedule a year or two ago he started to set down the longer instrumental pieces for this album – not quite a solo record as such (he’s assisted by Mark Jenkins on pedal steel and Rolla Olak on guitar) but a record released under his name. And a record that seems to have come from the influence of Alice Coltrane, although it’s even more gentle – and the spacey, chilled vibe of the pedal steel even recalls the solo instrumental album Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour never made. If Gilmour had wandered off earlier (say after Dark Side) he and Richard Wright might have collaborated on a record like this.
Jeffrey never lets anything drift away fully – his drums (although soft, loping, relaxed) tend to lock things down in a manner similar to Lambchop or Calexico at their most relaxed, or the alt-country space-jazz instrumental record Kraftwerk also (of course) never quite made.
The album features four long instrumental tracks, opener, Lonely Years is the scene-setter; music to drift to and waft with, music that takes you along in its gentle wake.
Leaving Franklin is a repetitive mantra of a riff – almost like the chillout boom of Zero Seven and the like, but with jazzier intentions. Play It As It Lays slow-evolves over ten minutes, from a weepy mourn of the pedal steel and some space-gazing through to a low-simmer of post-rock and then the closer is Pacific Calm – this one is beatless and Eno-esque. All four of the tracks feel like paintings made in and with sound. This is such a low-key glorious drift of music to lay back with and relax.