Whitebeard was not a name that I was familiar with before listening to his new EP, Dust on Dust. So being the inquisitive music journalist that I am, I decided to reach out to the Future Wizards label in hopes of finding out just who Whitebeard is and was answered by the man himself.
“Whitebeard is an alias for myself, and I usually play guitar in the acid folk duo Opel, as well as oversee Future Wizards, which is our label. I guess the ‘Wicker Hymns’ albums would be Opel’s most notable releases to date. The Dust on Dust EP is my debut solo effort, and I play all the instrumentation on it apart from the bass and drums on “Molten Staar” and “Dust on Dust.” These were provided by some old friends I was once involved with – a rather shadowy group that I refer to as The Zap Archive.”
About Dust on Dust
This isn’t an album I could imagine people using as a soundtrack for household chores, as it requires the listener to lay back and absorb what they’re hearing. Whitebeard uses many tactics to create an atmosphere, be it a guitar, synth, bass, drums, theremin, or even the reportage used in “Prince of Oblivion.” Whitebeard uses whatever is needed to convey his point.
Dust on Dust starts with just over 2 minutes of spacey sounds via “Circle of the Twig.” This one employs synths and a sparse guitar part with a Pink Floyd-esque tone. It’s an interesting piece that’s just weird enough to grab your attention.
Track number two is called “Molten Staar” and is the album’s best track. It’s driven by a very smooth drum and bass groove that will have you moving for the entirety of its seven-minute runtime. The guitars apply an almost improvised-sounding series of parts that fit perfectly on top of the drums and always have a 60s-70s-influenced tone.
On the next track, “Prince of Oblivion,” Whitebeard decides to take on the role of reporter on top of his usual musical duties. The timbre and tone of his voice may conjure mental images of late 60s British news clips, and the mix of that and the synth is quite entrancing. When there is a guitar, it is tastefully laid in and perfect for the track.
“Earthworms” is a fleet-fingered acoustic piece that sounds as if it could be the backdrop to wood nymphs’ manic dancing for her faery cousins during a medieval pagan festival. The runs are fairly quick and involve a lot of finger dexterity, a feat that is kept up for most of this four-minute piece of music.
Lastly, we have the title track, “Dust on Dust.” As with most of the other songs, this one runs for over six minutes and never feels like it’s that long. The cool thing about this, which hopefully you’ll hear as well, is that this music feels like it could be the backing music in an old Cheech and Chong flick while everyone’s partying. The other cool element is that the guitars seem quieter than the sitar, and the effect feels very retro. Those guitars also have a Joe Walsh vibe, funky and jazzy all at once.
Whitebeard’s Dust on Dust is an eclectic mix of sounds, tones, and songwriting. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but coming out, I can say that this album is an almost overwhelming display of knowing what type of sound is needed and then getting for it; not trying to please the world, but more about trying to please himself. The tracks may not all seem like they fit together, but the overall result is still cohesive.
I highly recommend that fans of psychedelic rock, space psych, acid folk, and the associated genres check out this record. Realistically, you should check it out even if you’ve never heard anything in those genres, and you may discover something new to add to your playlists.
Standout Tracks: “Molten Staar” and “Earthworms”
This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.