The music of Roy Montgomery will probably be seen as a bit anomalous, a blip on the radar of the already tiny musical phenomenon- which someone is no doubt chronicling (and has chronicled) in great deal- known as New Zealand. He wood likely fall closer to the Dead C. side of the spectrum as opposed to say, the Clean side. I think he pretty much stands alone, though.
Though my favorite Montgomery album in terms of start to finish wholeness is probably Temple IV, Scenes from the South Island contains my favorite song- Twilight Conversation.
Its such a simple piece- a quick hit of a low delayed note, pulsed out for a good ten minutes, drones in the background while an ebowed guitar circles around it, occasionally returning to a simple dark melody. So simple- there are no words and no changes- yet it is so evocative of its name. Every time I hear it I am drawn into that twilight. It holds me there, and I drift in and out of a feeling that is both chilling and warm.
Needless to say, countless evenings were spent in my basement on Fair Oaks emulating the style of this song. Some of it I taped, most I didn’t. It absolutely influenced what I brought to Land.
I had the good fortune of seeing him quite a long time ago, with Jon and John, at the Cooler in New York City. I’m not sure if that place is even there any more. The show was some kind of confluence of things happening at the time, and the room was packed with some pretty famous hipsters. Did Sandy Bull play? Is that possible? I think so. Roy played, and tried a cute experiment with two guitars and two ebows. Maybe that’s why I’ve loved him so much: I know his technique was somewhat limited and he had just a handful of tools to work with- a guitar, a delay, an ebow and a tascam 4-track- but he tried very hard to squeeze new things out of his abilities and the things he had at hand. He continued by playing his contribution to the “Harmony of the Spheres” box set. I believe that night was Godspeed You Black Emperor’s first show in the USA. The droneon list had a big conversation over whether or not they were good, and in a rare show of de-lurking, I actually came out against them. Who knew they would come to define turn-of-the-millennium post rock? Probably a lot of people. I still think they’re overrated.
Anyway, Roy Montgomery. Not all of his work has been that fantastic, but I owe an incredible debt to him, and I still love it all. Hey thanks, Roy!