King Solomon Hill – John Henry Calvinist

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The Lost Domain has been under the radar for so long, even after its online explosion of recognition, the band seems still to carry a somewhat magical aura of under use. Its members, who include the present John Henry Calvinist, have been playing the weirdest of blues-jams together in Brisbane, Australia for more than 15 years, and only came into greater visibility when some years ago fellows from Broken Face and Digitalis Recordings got together to put out the gem of an album, Sailor, Home From the Sea.

John Henry Calvinist’s work soon followed on Digitalis’ CD-R label Foxglove. This is quintessential Lost Domain stuff. Slide acoustic guitar, lo-fi sound, a ton of ideas in the background, noise samples and a touch of reverb does, on most of the tracks, the trick. It’s just as simple as it seems, with the sound of cars passing in the background, for instance, conjuring an earnestly homespun atmosphere that makes you want to grab your own guitar. It’s kind of strange to use words like “soulful,” since Calvinist’s solo work often has a very harsh, noisy side, but it works similarly to the post-modern trickery of somebody like Dialing In’s Reita Piecuch. Just a single note of slide guitar carries all the ghosts of passed-out Blind-Joe-Somethings that South America nursed and killed. Calvinist’s don’t overuse the trick, fortunately, and it’s all the more beautiful.