It's been a good 20 years since Chicago was a Mecca of cross-genre metamusic. Bands and projects like Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day, Town & Country, Isotope 217, The Sea And Cake, Gastr del Sol, Red Red Meat or The Red Crayola always found new combinations of rock, jazz, new music, techno, free improvisation, country, blues and much more. Out of pure helplessness they invented the term "post-rock" for this mix. The singer, guitarist and songwriter Ryley Walker is a generation younger than the musicians of the mentioned projects, but he wants to follow exactly their aesthetics. The nine songs on his new album build astonishing bridges between all these states of aggregation, which often do not follow any obvious logic. "I strongly oriented myself to bands like The Red Crayola, Gastr del Sol, Isotope 217 or the early Tortoise", Walker confirms his large-scale sound confusion. "Jim O'Rourke could write these wonderful pop melodies, and the next moment he played a freely improvised gig. That didn't get in the way. I find that very inspiring, and I wanted to find connections between John Fahey's and Derek Bailey's views in the same way. Something that represents happiness and depression at the same time."
Those who know Walker's latest albums "Primrose Green" and "Golden Sings That Have Been Sung" know that he has long since found unusual hinges between British folk à la Bert Jansch and the US jazz of the sixties - in the area of tension between Andrew Hill and John Coltrane. On "Deafman Glance", however, he has developed a new dramaturgy. The mood is introverted to depressed. The songs meander through unexplored sound levels on which his lyrics spread like humbly presented chains of thoughts. He doesn't make it easy for himself or his listeners. He looks like the master builder of a fairytale castle, who leaves it to the visitors to fight their own way through thorns and scrub. But once one has found the way to the innermost, one is richly rewarded in every corner. Although Walker does not follow any concrete jazz models, the overall impression of "Deafman Glance" is much more jazzy than before. "On the last two records I was much more systematic," Walker compares. "I had been trying out the songs live for months and knew exactly what was going to happen in the studio. This time I had nothing at all in my hand. I just knew I wanted to make a new record. That's why it took me so long to finish. My only requirement was to remove myself a bit from the folk sound of the earlier CDs. I wanted to represent my personality more."