After two limited cassette releases, Unknown Fortune is the vinyl debut for Stefan Christensen’s “& Friends” moniker. Featuring all members of Mountain Movers and Headroom, Unknown Fortune showcases a super group of sorts taking some time to unwind and flow together under the unique and steady guidance of the seasoned songwriter and noisemaker.
Recorded by former Mountain Movers drummer John Miller, at his cozy home studio in one exceptionally productive whirlwind weekend, the album is bookended by two heavy psych explorations. Both feature Christensen and Headroom/Mountain Movers guitarist Kryssi Battalene engaging in aural duals that will not soon be forgotten. The pair dialogue in a sonic language all their own – predicated by over a decade of friendship and musical collaboration, their innate ability to call-and-respond, ebb-and-flow, push-and-pull is without parallel amongst contemporary duos. Meanwhile the consistent and driving forces of Rick Omonte, Ross Menze and David Shapiro provide rhythm and structure to even the most chaotic feedback immersions of Christensen and Battalene.
Unknown Fortune, however, is not solely an album of psychedelic rock tunes. The record also finds space for contemplative songwriting and other-worldly experimentation. Tracks like “Scraps” and “Praise Sin” see Christensen getting back to his deeply personal crafting of song. His ability to quickly and concisely evoke a strong sense of reflective melancholy brings to mind the talents of artists like Alastair Galbraith and Peter Jefferies, but always through Christensen’s exceptionally original lens. This is melded with long and short form experimentation and improvisation – sometimes featuring just one or two Friends and other times the whole gang. These experiments put to use the many talents of the crew; Shapiro’s acoustic improv, Daniel Greene’s droning chord organ, Omonte coloring parts with melodica and so on. Tracks like “Illustration I & II” create real tension on the record and showcase the crew’s amazing improvisational abilities.
Limited to 250 copies with beautiful artwork provided by Matthew Ford (Yves/Son/Ace, Factums).