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about

"It’s exceedingly difficult to view your own work with clarity and accuracy, but William Fowler Collins and James Jackson Toth know how. They describe Under Stars and Smoke, their first collaborative album, as “the soundtrack to an imaginary landscape wherein various “actual” locales are thematically superimposed atop one another to suggest new, alien terrain”, and that sums the experience of absorbing this masterful, three-dimensional work of sculpted sound better than I ever could.

Of course I’m still gonna try: the three pieces here are stunning in their patience. They move on their own time scale, pulling and twisting and erasing the clock rather than stopping it. At times the whole album feels like one standard-length blues tune stretched so far each molecule of sound is revealed as its own dense universe. I find myself admiring stretches the way I’d soak in a painting in a museum, staring at a fixed point rather than worrying about its connection to the rest. Yet when I do that, the connections become clear too, such that when Toth rises up and sings in a conventional song-like way at album’s end, it’s somehow weirdly logical - a very human end to an album that’s almost ineffable."

– Marc Masters, The Out Door

credits

released April 7, 2016

All music by William Fowler Collins and James Jackson Toth

Artwork by Claudia X. Valdes

Mastered by James Plotkin

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about

William Fowler Collins and James Jackson Toth

Under Stars and Smoke is the soundtrack to an imaginary landscape wherein various “actual” locales are thematically superimposed
atop one another to suggest new, alien terrain.

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