Release Date: May 14, 2012
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
To a certain extent (despite press notice to the slight contrary), Versions is a remix/live companion album, with its studio section being built from the same sessions that produced the guitarists' Sycamore. In this case, Tortoise veteran Ken Brown got the nod to do the remixing of David Daniell and Douglas McCombs' work -- but a dance or ambient revamp this isn't, as might be guessed. If anything, Brown turns the Versions material, drawing on both released and unreleased sections from the original sessions, into something closer to harsher rock at points, but on balance the various tracks turn into a series of tense counterpoints between loud and soft, always with an eye toward careful flow that transforms the material into slow evolutions.
I hope David Daniell and Douglas McCombs don't take offense when I say that their second album, Versions, is a marked improvement over 2009's Sycamore. I guess I wouldn't blame them if they did, because while both records cull from the same improvised studio session, only the first was edited and assembled by the pair themselves. Versions was crafted by McCombs' former Tortoise bandmate Ken (aka "Bundy K.") Brown, who got to choose whatever he liked from the seven hours of source material.
With Versions, the second LP from guitarists David Daniell (San Agustin) and Doug McCombs (Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day, Brokeback), the idea of instant composition is brought into an interesting position. Their first LP, Sycamore, was culled from seven hours of tape, and Daniell and McCombs sculpted a sprawling canvas of improvisation into four short pieces and 40 minutes of music. In addition to guitars and electronics, drummers John Herndon, Frank Rosaly, and Steven Hess were part of the original proceedings.