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Ben Chasny was on a holy roll when he laid down the eleven tracks on Dust and Chimes. It was 1998 and y’all were floating on that Bill Clinton peace-and-prosperity bubble. Meanwhile, Chasny had dropped his self-titled debut LP earlier that year, and the cognoscenti and illuminati were pricking up their ears. Dust and Chimes announced the arrival of a brow-furrowed troubadour whose complex, morosely beautiful guitar playing didn’t Basho you over the head with Fahey-isms.
The three solo guitar tracks here contain quicksilver skeins of glinting acoustic work, recorded over a decade before the American Primitive style of playing would be of any interest to the indie world. Brilliant darkness and somber ecstasy abound, as Chasny ragas against the machine with a bold inventiveness. Elsewhere one may hear hints of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s impish arboreal-folk charm and feathery Donovan-esque incantations—reverent but not lightweight in the least.
Now newly remastered, Dust and Chimes sounds like the work of a young sage wise beyond his tears.