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FiRES WERE SHOT - Fallen (Holodeck)

10 February 2020

For twenty years, Clay Walton and John Wilkins have been wielding acoustic guitars in service of scorched ambience as FiRES WERE SHOT. But you’d never know it from “Westmoor Myriad,” the opening cut from Fallen, the Austin, Texas-based pair’s fifth album. Burying their axes under a plethora of loops and effects, FWS evokes that unsettling wave one sees across burning pavement in triple-degree heat, causing hallucinations of water even in the heart of the city. The wooden guitars make a more conventional noise on “Yemen” and “Forter Starter,” providing pattern repetition underneath electronic drones and fluctuations. Those cuts are just a warm-up, however, for “Black Helicopter,” an eighteen-minute meditation on sound via steel-string guitar loops and feedback drones that, like the best ambient music, soothes and disconcerts in equal measure.