The first noticeable item about Steve Von Till is his voice. Coming in as a younger version Tom Waits, Von Tillâ€™s vocals are low and grate-y; the voice is perfect for the electric, minimalistic folk he createsâ€”though his image is one of a hefty metal band.
Yes, one look at Von Till and you get the distinct impression that he, with the massive goatee and thick sideburns, would be more fit for a powerful metal band. The contradiction is, at least initially, startlingâ€”that is, until you learn that Von Till actually comes from such a band: Neurosis. Still, his solo work is surprisingly down-to-earth.
Opening with the title track, Von Till immediately proves his lyrical songwriting abilities, and he also comes through as a skilled guitarist. The minimalist nature of A Grave Is A Grim Horse, unlike typical minimal artists, is packed with instruments and is more often orchestrated than not.
Von Till pays extraordinary attention to detailâ€”each note is intricately and carefully placed, each instrument, from strings to guitars, scrutinized until perfection is achieved. The result is a tight release and this is all apparent before hitting the one third mark. And it continues through closing tune â€œGravityâ€ just as youâ€™d expect: without flaw.
Steve Von Till: Western Son [mp3]
[audio:0827_steve_von_till_-_western_son.mp3|titles=Western Son|artists=Steve Von Till]
Neurot Recordings [CD, 2008]
A Grave Is A Grim Horse
Clothes Of Sand
Valley Of The Moon
The Spider Song
Looking For Dry Land