It has been almost 2 years since the release of M. Mucci's first album Under the Tulip Tree. The time between full lengths however, has been anything but silent. In early 2009 he released the Late Last Night EP, a bleak improvised slow motion blues for electric guitar. In late 2009 he switched back to acoustic guitar and released the traditionally tinged Self-titled fundraising EP, which raised $3000 for a cancer researcher at Princess Margaret hospital in Toronto. Live shows took M. Mucci across southern Ontario, into Quebec, and saw him open shows for Ignatz, One Hundred Dollars, Nadja, and Harris Newman.
Time Lost sees M. Mucci return to some of the musical themes explored on the first full length; most notably, the Takoma inspired acoustic guitar playing, this time accompanied by harmonium, lap steel, and percussion. The guitar on opening track 'Small Triumphs' ebbs and flows through time to be joined by a wheezing harmonium and triumphant cymbal washes. The next two numbers 'The View from Here' and 'The Culprits' are full throttle compositions for the steel string guitar. The A - side ends with the delicate electric guitar work of 'Apri L'occhi Pt. 1,' whose theme returns – albeit in a different mood – at the end of the B - side with 'Apri L'occhi Pt. 2'.
The B-side opens with 'Chase Down Alice St.' a driving song that captures M. Mucci with a full band for the first time. The remainder of the B-side sees M. Mucci explore silence and decay on 'Moments Between' and new directions on 'A Day Like Any Other'.
Time Lost was recorded between December 2009 and February 2010 at the Tall House in Guelph, ON. The physical form of the album is beautifully packaged with stunning cover art by Ontario encaustic artist Andrea Bird (www.andreabird.com). When not coaxing sound from his guitar during the nights, M. Mucci spends his time during the day tending to exotic flora at the University of Guelph, as well as planning his radio show 'Sounds from the Tall House' on CFRU 93.3 FM and semi – regular live music series of the same name.
M. Mucci "Time Lost" LP
The Tall House Recording Company
Finding yet more wily, ghostly echoes of Old Weird America in the veins of acoustic guitar strings, M. Mucci mines familiar territory, yet the soulful songs and mindful picking on "Time Lost" do not sound derivative. Country Blues and folk tunes played with drone tuning are endless sources. Mucci has been exploring those sources, along with the sense of immense space that comes from living in Ontario, in the largest country in the world. He leaves a lot of room in his music, both for silence and for improvisation.
The opener, "Small Triumphs," is meditative, almost bucolic, with a gradually building majesty. A couple of haunted, slightly askew steel string workouts follow, with "The Culprits" particularly notable for its eerie slide work at the end. Likewise, both "Moments Between" and "A Day Like Any Other" are almost twins, haunting spare meditations.
Overtly joined are the two parts of "April L'occhi." The first part, short at under two minutes, offer minimal, short, electric guitar ambient tones, whereas "Pt.2" is a more spectral atmospheric development of the originally stated melody. Mucci works solo throughout, the only exception being on the country-noir of "Chase Down Alice," which features a very restrained full band.
"Time Lost" is, while not as disorienting as the title might suggest, is a solid meditation on the ecstatic and hermetic potential of the guitar. This is ground covered by everyone from Fahey to Blackshaw to, more recently, Bill Orcutt. But Michael Mucci has been sitting with his Shadow and facing it as honestly and openly as any of those artists. Through two full-lengths and a few EPs, Mucci has shown grit, daring, and respect enough for his instrument to let it speak for itself, as well as to let it pause, and echo. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (28 July, 2010)
The Tall House Rec. M.Mucci : Time Lost -LP/digi- (CAN,2010)****
I have had a few listens to this new album by M.Mucci and I must admit he succeeds to provoke a certain feeling that time stands still, a contemplation with different directions under the form of lead picking tracks, and outros or small intermezzos in different styles. Also, a band accompanies him with nothing but percussive accents, mostly with cymbals, occasionally with a subtle singing bowl, harmonium and some slide guitar. The pickings leave openings, are a few times more song like, and recall Fahey a bit here and there.
After a slow developing picking theme with accordion, a faster picking track follows, in a rather blues-mode but with happy effect. The bowl sounds leave time for a very slow picking intro in the next track, with resonance and space, before another faster Fahey-styled expression. The outro after that leaves the electrified acoustic guitar resonate a bit more.
Also the second side has changes that make the listening experience more rewarding, while they were made to combine the tracks best. Like mentioned one track is with cymbal percussion and sliding effect and faster pickings, leading to a more moody introspective track with inner quietness. This is followed by a song-like excursion with percussive accents that leads to more power in the playing as well. The outro with lots of resonance in the strings reminds a bit of Daniel Lanois (with Eno). A nice unpretentious honest light but crafty expression.
Fluid Radio UK (http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2010/05/m-mucci-time-lost/)
We have been following the exquisite sounds of M. Mucci for some time now and his upcoming release ‘Time Lost' provides the listener with experimental steel stringed compositions of the highest caliber…
The Silent Ballet
Time Lost is the second album from Canadian-based Mike Mucci, who some may know from his time with post-rock band Proeliis Fere. Mucci's solo project is a much different venture; although still instrumental, he focuses on solo guitar performance and, for the most part, avoids the genre bleeding that has marked the works of other solo guitarists in the past few years. As a result, Time Lost is an enchanting experience: forty minutes of low key guitar music that steadily approaches the serene. It's a perfect album for lazy summer days or escaping the irresistible lure of time. Mucci's crafted an endearing album that's difficult to refuse. His smooth playing and cool style should prove to be invaluable to listeners of all ilks.
Based in Guelph, Ontario, Mucci is a gifted guitarist who explores emotive textures in the realm of experimental finger picking and electric guitar tones. While it's only been two years since Mucci released his wondrous debut full-length, Under the Tulip Tree, he's been prolific, releasing two EPs in 2009 alone.
His latest album is entitled Time Lost and finds Mucci re-visiting the acoustic playing he's renowned for, yet experimenting with new instruments and players to create his most lush and inventive effort yet. Mucci celebrates this new record with a Guelph show at Ed Video Media Arts Centre on Thursday June 17, which also features WHOOP-szo and Terra Lightfoot. Mucci stops by the show to tell us more about all of this.
Delta Slider (http://delta-slider.blogspot.com/)
Ontario guitarist M. Mucci has recently released his second full length release "Time Lost," recorded between Dec 2009 and Feb 2010.
The CD kicks off with a couple tracks where Mucci sets the tone and tempo with his thumb. The first, "Small Triumphs" with just solid time keeping and the second, "The View From Here" with a great driving feel. This tune and the following, "The Culprits" are fantastic works in the modern Takoma tradition. What I like best about cuts two and three is how aggressive Mucci is with the thumb, just hammering out the rhythm.
"The Culprits" has the added surprises that it starts off with some weird noises and suddenly pops into the strong finger picking, once you are grooving on that he slams into slide playing to wrap the song. Really a strong piece.
The calm interludes "Apri L'occhi" parts 1 and 2 appear at the end of each side of the LP, though that distinction is lessened by the fact that I am listening to the CD version. But part 2 at the end of the CD is indeed a nice ending to the CD. The first, "Apri L'occhi" works on the CD as an excellent transition from a solo guitar piece to a full band piece, "Chase Down Alice St."
Mucci's use of percussion through out this effort is judicious and never gets in the way of the guitar playing. No, in fact I think it is a nice addition to the feel of the recording as a whole resulting in a lush feel throughout the experience.
One of my favorite aspects of the music is how closely together Mucci has put the tracks. The time between is barely a beat and it binds the music into a whole. That and the fact that the songs flow well from one to the other. Though they are clearly different, the effort feels like one large composition.
This is a limited quantity release on LP with a download included. The digital only price is great. Go visit MMucci.com and check out all the tracks.
Work and Worry Blog (http://workandworry.com/2010/07/02/review-m-mucci-time-lost/#more-1529)
by Raymond Morin
For avid fans of instrumental acoustic guitar music, there aren't many real surprises anymore. These days, it's hard to imagine a new player who could hit the scene and affect a seachange along the lines of, say, Davy Graham's restless early experiments with Middle Eastern motifs, or John Fahey's genre-spawning blues distillations. Even two of today's most head-turning young instrumentalists, James Blackshaw and Kaki King, earned their reputations not by reinventing the wheel, but by designing their breakthrough recordings around the musical templates of Robbie Basho and Michael Hedges, respectively.
…and what's wrong with that? After all, innovation isn't everything. Indeed, when it comes to guitarists, it seems that those who decide to eschew tradition entirely tend to lean on gimmicks… more strings, more effects, atonality, more notes and played FASTER! All of those things can be great in small doses, but at the end of the day, when someone sits down behind a six (or twelve) string wooden box, I hope to hear something musical. It doesn't have to be tricky, it doesn't have to be fast, and it doesn't have to be a revelation… give me a little soul, just the right amount of technique and some compositional flare, and you might very well have a fan for life!
Time Lost is the new album by guitarist M.Mucci, and on first listen, it seems perfectly in sync with what's happening in underground acoustic guitar at this moment in time. There are strong echoes of Fahey, as well as the current crop of Takoma-inspired players. Opening track "Small Triumphs" particularly reminds me of Israeli guitarist Yair Yona, with its warm, strummed chords and lazy slide giving way to a patient, melancholy pattern-picking section. As Time Lost unfolds, Mucci, like Yona, betrays a healthy indie and post-rock influence in his approach to recording and arranging, and more often than not, that sensibility helps to keep the momentum going and the songs interesting.
Second track "The View From Here" gets just a little more sinister, featuring tense chords and an insistent boom-chick in the bass. Again, this isn't anything that hasn't been done before, but Mucci plays cleanly and with conviction, and his obvious affection for the style helps to sell the piece. "The Culprits" continues both the mood and tempo, but with a slight ramp-up in dynamics after a very C. Joynes-esque prepared guitar intro. Mucci brings in a little aggressive slide playing before the close of the piece, which doesn't really take the song anywhere… if anything it calls attention to the composition's repetitive nature and lack of a real melody.
The album features two short, watery dirges entitled "April L'occhi Pt. 1" and "April L'occhi Pt. 2," each closing a side on the vinyl version (which, incidentally, is a limited edition of 300 copies). At first, these segues again put me in mind of Yona, and some of the post-rock production touches that he employs on his Remember album. Listening further, though, I'm more inclined to infer the influence of Robert Fripp and his "Frippertronics" washes of ambient, tape-looped electric guitar. It's probably complete coincidence, but the "April…" bits sound like they could be right at home on Fripp's Exposure album.
The Fripp/King Crimson vibe returns again on "A Day Like Any Other," which has Mucci picking in 5/8 time along to some minimal but effective cymbal work. The mood here is foreboding, and again more pattern than melody oriented, but the song's dynamics, odd time signatures and various arrangement elements give it a more unique and personalized sound, causing it to stand out from the American Primitive pack.
Along with side two's opening "Chase Down Alice St.," an energetic song that features kit drumming by Robb Cappelletto, "A Day…" shows that though Mucci may not be trying to rewrite the book on acoustic guitar, he definitely has some ideas of his own. M. Mucci has succeeded in creating a nuanced, interesting and at times quite exciting record, one that not only shows great promise, but also stands up to the work of many of today's revered young fingerpickers.
Andrea Bird (www.andreabird.com)
Encaustic/Collage (silver leaf, roots, rust, photo transfer)
Commissioned by Michael Mucci, a musician from Guelph, this moon piece was inspired by another done a few years ago. Michael's music is very meditative and beautiful, and listening to it as I worked on the painting really informed the piece. This will be the cover for his LP which is available in July 2010 from www.mmucci.com