Chattanooga musician Jack Sawyer possesses a freewheeling creativity, a restless musical instinct that compels him to explore the extended boundaries of his influences. Over the years, he’s submerged himself into a handful of genres, finding ways to present new and unique perspectives within all his endeavors. But under the alias of All the Holy Mountains, he seems to have found a pure distillation of the numerous sounds swirling around in his head.
Using the moniker as a way to dig deep into these particular rhythmic impulses, he crafts a mesmerizing strain of guitar-based ambience. And while Sawyer isn’t miming anyone specifically — he’s far too intuitive to simply feed off the sounds of other artists — he does owe some debt to the bands who helped to build the foundations of shoegaze and post-rock. There’s a density and weight to his music which could easily have felt labored but, instead, comes across as untethered to specific inspiration and roams casually across his expansive imagination.
On his new self-titled EP as All the Holy Mountains, he offers up 5 tracks of beautiful experimentation that cocoon themselves deep in your subconscious. From the opening guitar shake of “The Mountain Has Opened Its Windows” to the almost hymnal quality of closer, “The Furniture, Like Insects, Buzz Into Flight,” the EP builds a subtle force that threatens to swallow you whole before it’s done with you. But there’s no animosity here, only the insight and confidence of a man who knows his instrument inside and out.
Tracks like “Tree of Arms” and ” Below the Frozen River” revel in their unhurried natures, allowing him the room he needs to draw out some truly inspiring and ethereal lines from his guitar. And where other artists would merely seek to confront their listeners with a certain subdued theatricality, Sawyer embraces both the complexity and subtle austerity inherent to these kinds of sounds. This EP is a testament to the nuance and emotional resonance that can be extracted from the strings of an electric guitar. He’s set the bar incredibly high with this release — here’s hoping that he doesn’t make us wait too long for his follow-up.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.