“Bongo Closet” by Geoff Mullen
A gorgeous, hazy journey through the psyche of Geoff Mullen.
Providence, Rhode Island operative Geoff Mullen has been working beneath the popular music radar for some time now, putting his name to a number of limited cassettes, cdrs and vinyl albums. It is hardly surprising that in that time he has developed something of a cult following in the New England scene, with live performances (solo and together with Keith Fullerton Whitman) and his own Rare Youth label garnering him a loyal throng of rabid fans.
Using the guitar, synthesizer and a selection of well-developed processes, Mullen has come up with a unique sound difficult to pigeonhole. Throughout the album the sounds feel so effortlessly unified that one can completely forget the individual instruments themselves. It is hard to believe that the synthesizer used (the legendary Yamaha CS50) is the baby brother of the CS80, heard so distinctively piped into Deckard’s electric dreams in Blade Runner. The distant, dusty tones and pulsating rhythms bring to mind instead memories of early Popol Vuh or something altogether more defiant. As a veteran guitarist, writing ‘Bongo Closet’ was Mullen’s search for different ways of playing music, and these weathered, deeply personal songs are the result. Rich with emotion and surprisingly detailed, there is the sense that the technology never informs the creative process. Mullen is using his chosen instruments without a care for what they can and can’t do – they are tools in the creation of his music, never the other way around.
‘Bongo Closet’ is an intensely human listening experience. Teeming with life and breathing as it coughs and splutters, there is an unavoidable attachment felt almost instantly as a listener. This is music that drags you in and simply refuses to let go.