Tyler Delaney Reed is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music instructor from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada. Reed spent the last few years as a bassist for other Canadian bands, and in 2017 began releasing instrumental music under his own name. Ancestry is his first full-length album and is comprised of six guitar-based tracks. Reed states that his recordings range from “gently picked acoustics to long, jam-band inspired solos, often incorporating loops, drones and improvisation.” Influences include Miles Davis (from his “In A Silent Way” era) to post rock, jam bands, kraut rock and ambient music.
Reed recorded everything by himself (except one live drum track), using his own Logic 9 home studio. He used a Tascam tape machine as a preamp for many of his guitar parts to get a more analog tone. Reed also mixed the album using Logic plug-ins, and helpfully provided notes for each track which I will be referencing. My initial reaction to the overall sound quality is that it’s pretty good, if a little rough and chunky in spots as befitting the guitar tones.
“Paranoid Foresight” was the album’s first track to be recorded, and was inspired by Reed’s realization that “the pandemic wasn’t going to end any time soon.” He created a guitar loop so that he could play and solo as long as he felt like it. In my reviews I often say the music I’m hearing is “hypnotic,” and that’s definitely the case here as the same swirly note pattern repeats for five minutes. The guitar solo per se doesn’t start until five minutes in, and even then it’s largely cyclical riffs. Here’s your chance to trance out!
“Workingman’s Chant” begins with the sound of kids playing, like some classic jazz albums have done; indeed, Reed mentions that this track was “inspired by the great jazz ballads” and written very quickly. The song is based on major 7 chords and his solo was modeled on the playing of Kenny Burrell. This track quiets the album down with a gently picked reverie, and features a solo by Reed that’s easygoing and right on the money. The next song “Post Takoma” was directly influenced by Reed’s obsession with John Fahey’s Takoma record label, and does have the same stripped-down, mellow acoustic vibe Fahey and his label mates were known for. I also love the low-end guitar drone that follows along from beginning to end.
Reed considers the almost nine minute “Gerhard’s Jam” to be the centerpiece of the album, which was based on a loop he created to practice soloing along to. The title comes from artist Gerhard Richter, who inspired both the music and the cover image. You can always tell a track that’s made from an extended jam, as they often fade in with the “band” already playing (see George Harrison’s jam disk on All Things Must Pass.). If you’re familiar with lead guitar jams then you know what to expect, and this one builds slowly, letting the energy wax and wane throughout. Reed seems to have captured a feedback burst on a loop, which I didn’t really care for.
“Resignation” features drummer Jeff Cochrane, and was recorded very quickly on the day Reed quit his day job to (again) become a full-time musician. It’s got chords very similar to Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” (in fact you can sing those words over this one!). I love the extremely slow drum pattern (thanks, Jeff) and the “esteemed” solo by Reed who doesn’t feel compelled to show off; he simply slides into some gorgeous riffing and chording.
The final track is “Trafalgar Rd, 7 am” which Reed calls “a reflective piece inspired by nature.” It reminded me both of R.E.M.’s “Ebow The Letter” and the quintessential Zappa solo track “Watermelon In Easter Hay.”
If you like guitar solos or jam bands you’re likely to enjoy this collection, and I’m sure Reed’s got way more up his sleeve AND his guitar necks for the future!
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