*Excerpts from the album. Now available from Experimedia.net.* New recordings from Alan Licht are always welcomed by me and received with a sort of happy nostalgia, the NY-based guitarist's '90s output (particularly "Sink the Aging Process" and "The Evan Dando of Noise" being somewhat formative records for me in my teenage years). "Four Years Older" is an interesting concept for a record, with Licht presenting two iterations of a guitar piece that he's been playing live for several years. Side A, recorded in 2012, begins with ecstatic ring-modulated guitar licks, blooms into something more stately and reverb-heavy, returns to furious atonal fretwork and ultimately dissolves into a beautiful, resonant drone. It's an arresting piece that I imagine would be quite powerful in a live setting. The B-side documents the same piece, we're told, performed in 2008. The recording does sound older and Licht, if anything, sounds even more impassioned and frenetic, carving scalding arcs of guitar noise for the duration of the side. All in all, an interesting experiment of an album and a worthy listen taboot. - Alex Cobb, Experimedia
A new set by the coolest chap in New York City, documenting the development process of a solo electric guitar piece that Alan Licht has been playing out for the last four years. Revered for his work in the Blue Humans and Text Of Light, and a key figure in the pantheon of experimental solo guitar players born in the late '60s such Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi, Four Years Older is his debut Editions Mego release, representing another peak in a career of mining the rich seams of minimalism, noise and avant-garde in general that stretches back more than two decades. As it says on the box, side A was recorded four years later than the side B (and vice versa). Four Years Older sees a move away from the loop-based pieces of recent releases. On Four Years Later in particular the guitar's fingerboard is actually touched more than on any other solo piece of the last 10 years, although the guitar is pushed to sound more like a suitcase synth, a church organ, a hornet's nest, and a malfunctioning PlayStation than a guitar per se. As Alan points out: "Four Years Earlier was the debut of the piece; it was in three sections, the latter two of which appear here. The first section was identical to the first section of Four Years Later. I scrapped the second two parts after a couple of subsequent performances and developed it into a six-part piece, and then a seven-part piece in this studio version. In concert the piece lasts at least 30 minutes, I've shortened it on Four Years Later with an eye towards top 40 radio play." The initial "Four Years Earlier" session is a blistering electronic nail storm that would not feel out of place on one of Russell Haswell's legendary Live Salvage sets. "Four Years Later" is equally relentless but lets in some light with an ecstatic mid-section that ascends toward the spiritual. At the end of the day, the final result is music which is both corrosive and lyrical, a feeling which is reflected in Stephen O'Malley's eye-melting artwork.