Despite its four members being spread across the globe, American art-rock combo Tuxedomoon continue to be as vibrant and inventive in their 30th year as they were when they first came together in the late Seventies. Recorded at violinist Blaine Reininger's home, Vapour Trails offers a series of intriguing musical forays: in "Muchos Colores", clarinet and flugelhorn traverse a bed of contemplative piano, vibrato guitar chords and moaning violin, all topped off with Reininger's Spanish vocal, while the strummed bass, throbbing keys and muted trumpet lend "Kubrick" the calm manner of Miles Davis. Elsewhere, "Dizzy" sustains a fragile balance between itchy blip-beat rhythms and abstract soundscape, and "Big Olive" features a wiry Beefheartian guitar stomp haunted by an eerie vocal lowing. It all adds up to an absorbing work whose artful blend of ancient and modern would be recognised by Henry James, were he alive, as belonging to an older, more respectful heritage of expatriate American exploration.
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