David Lord "Forest Standards Vol. 2" Limited Edition 12" Vinyl

David Lord "Forest Standards Vol. 2" Limited Edition 12" Vinyl

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Limited Edition 12" Vinyl
Released October 9th, 2020
All songs written by David Lord 

Let's get excited by poise, for a change. Wichita, Kansas guitarist David Lord and his band mates exude a laid-back elegance with every gesture on Forest Standards Vol. 2, the quietly riveting follow-up to 2018's Forest Standards Vol. 1. With Chicago post-rock and avant-jazz stalwarts Jeff Parker (guitar) and Chad Taylor (drums), plus bassist Billy Mohler and vibraphonist Sam Hake, Lord engages in mellow exchanges of slanted and enchanted ideas. These lofty players purvey a clear-eyed introspection redolent of many classic ECM releases, and their ingenious interplay will make fans of Tortoise and Isotope 217 tingle with excitement. The spareness of Lord's arrangements allows for a kind of miniaturist intricacy and beguiling intimacy to flourish. This is jazz as arboreal meditation retreat, with the group's aural reveries leading to elevated planes of Zen calm.

Lord composed these pieces in the Lydian mode, which, he says, “has always felt like a nature or forest sound to me—especially when adding the extensions of #5 and b9. I love chords that blur the lines between being beautiful and dissonant. To me, this is similar to the forest, both beautiful and peaceful and also sort of eerie at the same time. The Lydian mode doesn’t need conflict and resolution, but rather just exists, complete and always resolved within itself. I like this philosophy.”
The album instantly nudges you into this sense of unconventional beauty with the eventful “Cloud Ear,” a species of post-rock animated by a mutedly ebullient burble. Lord's plangent, pointillist spangles flash over a mercurial yet chill rhythmic bustle, though the song gets psychedelic halfway in, with Taylor's beats slapping hard and Lord's guitar going fuzzily spectral. “Humble Mushroom” is a complex track that emits rays of Canterbury-scene prog euphony and pastoral sprightliness, while on “Pin Oak,” Lord and Parker generate a beautifully corkscrewing melody that caresses your cochleas with a mantric chime and tick-tock rimshots.
The elegantly tumultuous “Tubifera” (based on the Miles Davis standard “Tune Up”) takes listeners on a jazz-rock odyssey full of deft rhythmic change-ups and guitar jabs, which leads to “Turtle Mushroom” (a rough outline of the Isham Jones standard “There Is No Greater Love”), whose pensive peregrinations cast a mysterious spell, boosted by Hake's hallowed vibes.

The duet with Parker, “An Amanita,” exemplifies how Lord's compositions are essentially puzzles that cohere into alluring and novel shapes. Based on the John Coltrane standard “Countdown,” “Coltricia” is unspeakably pretty but a mere tease at 78 seconds; it proves that Lord and his mates are masters of concision, telling their ornate sonic stories and gracefully exiting. The glockenspiel-enhanced “Blue Morpho” might be Forest Standards Vol. 2's peak, its staggered rhythms and Parker's icy stream of guitar notes lending it the feel of a Zappa meditation from the '70s, but in slow-motion.

“There isn’t much happening in Wichita,” Lord says when asked about the city's impact on his music. “Nobody has illusions of getting record deals and making it big. People tend to just do their own thing. So it’s a good place to be creative in - if you’re not concerned with anyone hearing your music.” Forest Standards Vol. 2 proves that at least one Wichita artist demands to be heard far and wide outside of that Great Plains city. - Dave Segal, Seattle, Washington
David Lord- electric guitar, classical guitar, acoustic guitar, glockenspiel
Jeff Parker- electric guitar (1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14)
Billy Mohler- double bass
Chad Taylor- drums
Sam Hake- vibraphone