[8 February 2009]
Sonic architect Scott Pinkmountain (formerly Rosenberg) aims for and hits greatness on The Full Sun; the album’s press material describes one song as “cinematic” and the work as Pinkmountain’s “opus.” Accordingly, the album plays like the soundtrack to a great art house film. At some turns The Full Sun is exhausting and unsettling; at others it is glorious and blissful. Breathing life into what can only be described as a sonic experience, Pinkmountain, like any great creator or director, mixes enough twists and surprises into what is expected to make the album a truly captivating piece of art.
There is not enough room here to articulate all the elements and instruments Pinkmountain utilizes in his construction; approximately sixty musicians make their presence felt and touches of free-form jazz, rock, folk and symphonic/programmatic music abound. The knowledge that Pinkmountain has worked as an avant-garde composer and jazz saxophonist add a bit of context for all that transpires on these eleven tunes. Among the most notable tracks is the relatively uncomplicated opener “Song of Solomon”, “I Shall Not Be Released” and the stirring “Angel of Death” which features a pastoral acoustic guitar, foreboding organs and a quavering vocal which calls to mind Americana greats like Ralph Stanley.
The album’s two longest songs are arguably its most interesting. “Unforgiven” begins with ominous strings, mellows a bit before evolving and exploding into unadulterated rock and finally ends in a fully orchestral, hard-charging march. “Abyssinia” is a true curveball, a ten-minute ballad that is about as plain and straightforward as Pinkmountain gets; the tune resists the temptation to waver from its simple approach.