Friday, July 3, 2009

Might Could delivers delightful complexity

By Ben Cantlupe

In Adams Morgan, behind the confines of the worn brick walls of BOSSA bistro, adorned by black and white photographs of nude people indigenous to a place most of us have never been to, Might Could, the acoustic guitar quartet from College Park, MD had taken to the stage. This was the second performance of their first tour, which includes dates in New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. On the night of June 28th, they traded sets with guitarist John Lee and his namesake group The John Lee Experience.

Might Could played selections from their two albums as a quartet (the very first album was a duo endeavor) as well a few new, unrecorded compositions. They performed “Machinery” from the album All Intertwined, which is a characteristic composition of the group, but doesn’t encompass all of the compositional facilities that Might Could has to offer.

Like all of their songs, “Machinery” is composed note for note and played as such, despite how incredibly complicated it is and seemingly impossible to follow at times. The song features an ostinato, or repeated bass figure in 7/8 time, but changes time signatures as one guitar plays a melody and the third guitar alternates from harmonizing the bass part to the melody to playing counterpoint. If your head isn’t spinning already, just consider the fact that all of the songs have this level of complexity on top of searing 16th note runs, rhythmic interplay, and a wide dynamic range. Oh, and it was all memorized verbatim. That is an achievement in it of itself.

Don’t be discouraged by the complexity of the songs; Might Could's music is quite an easy listening, even for someone who is accustomed to much simpler music. Some of the songs invoke a folk-spirit and have much softer and slower tones and tempos. Even the faster ones can make you think of mystical places or maybe obscure NES game levels.

You can have a listen for yourself at where some tracks from All Intertwined, the newest album (2007) Wood Knot, and the self-titled duo album are available for free streaming online. You can also purchase the two group albums through the website. In addition, you will find their tour dates, so be sure to catch these guys live if they are headed to your city.

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