“Mojave Interlude” C30
(Northern Spy)

Raleigh’s Joe Westerlund traveled to California at some point, and the experience must have stuck with him if Mojave Interlude is any indication. Consider too that this tape took its form between August 2006 and November 2015, and it’s obvious that Westerlund, with a great sense of admiration for them, carefully considered the places he had been and crafted the music that reflected them over the extended period of time. It’s true – Mojave Interlude parts I and II, on side A and B, respectively, carry the dust of the desert within their compositional frameworks, and whether they stretch out in their stillness or erupt epileptically like a sandstorm they still retain their identities. Electronics hover, broken periodically by the madness of percussion. Brass and reeds bleat life into the night, and sound fragments, even trickles of water, appear here and there before ceding the spotlight to the next element. Somehow, these compositions also accompanied a dance piece called I Am Come for You, choreographed by Carson Efird – the performers clearly had to be at the top of their game for this, as their interpretations of this music likely consisted of slowly moving for periods of time followed by intense freakouts of flailing limbs. I’m also somewhat of a modern dance Philistine, so I’m probably imagining the comedic result of outrageous pretension. That’s all in my head, though, because Westerlund’s music certainly doesn’t waste time or effort getting to a tangible place where elucidation is fairly straightforward. The cassette’s cover image even evokes the movement, the restlessness that Westerlund imbues within these two pieces. It imposes a sense of joy, too, and satisfaction in knowing that the result of so much effort has reached its rewarding conclusion.

--Ryan Masteller