Robin Guthrie, the Rickenbacker-slinging guitarist and sound-sculpter half of the Cocteau Twins, has recorded his first solo album in a twenty-year recording career, the exquisitely spacious and airy Imperial.
Released on his own exceptional Bella Union label, Guthrie creates a diaphanous, evanescent, imperturbable world out of just his guitar and the occasional keyboard. This is a modulating, indistinct musical ambience that arrives and departs through unperceived apertures in the space-time fabric and boast passages so quiet and still as to blur the line between something and nothing. Yet taken as a whole, Imperial is so tangible that the listener may scan the room for physical residue of the music when the disc concludes.
I conclude with a hushed “wow.”