Joseph Lisciandro is the sinewy spine of Arkitekchur, a New York / Philadelphia guitar project that erects handsome edifices of gently echoing string pling, adds oblique spoken samples and then sheathes the whole thing in stirring visual political comment. The group’s opening salvo, a two-track (one-minute and 20-minutes) EP, is more experimental than successful, a tentative (if occasionally dramatic) collage of guitar, looped effects and voices that evinces too little compositional form to seem deliberate.
While not drastically different in conception, the subsequent album is far more ambitious and musical, lifting off gently from the long-ago lands of Glenn Branca and Robert Fripp to achieve something quite marvelous. In ridiculously named tracks that vary from snippets to elongated tableaux, Lisciandro (with a couple of one-track-each contributors) floats a pointillist cloud of hypnotic guitar sound that occasionally unleashes punishing hailstones of dissonance and aggression. From the dreamy wavelike tolling of bells (“In Rancoqueaux Woods”) to the ugly drone of machinery (“How to Pray Using the Mysteries of Light Theme”) to the simple urgency of time, Arkitekchur adapts the clichéd sound of a traditional rock implement to create a distinctively voiced soundtrack to the early 21st century.