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Ear to the Ground: Brian Reitzell’s “Last Summer”

The Lost in Translation composer reunites with My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields on Reitzell’s debut solo album.

If you’re not familiar with Brian Reitzell’s drum work with Air or Red Kross, you still may have heard him without knowing it. His gossamer compositions have appeared in such Sofia Coppola films as Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring, and the Hannibal television series. Reitzell is also credited with being the guy who convinced My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields to come out of a 12-year hiding spell and record songs for Lost in Translation.

Shields also appears “Last Summer,” the subtly euphoric new track from Reitzell’s first solo album, Auto Music. But don’t expect any tremolo dive-bombs or blasts of jet-engine distortion. Rather than draw from his quiver of modded, surf-friendly Fenders, Shields gets more sophisticatedly weird sounds from an organ to accompany Dave Palmer on the Mellotron.

In fact, it’s Reitzell and Tim Young who handle 6-string architecture throughout this soothing eight-and-a-half-minute instrumental. Halfway through, a gradual swell of soft, crumbling guitar distortion metamorphoses into what sounds more like melodic static than guitar. MBV fans need have no fear, though: As the drums pick up a third of the way through, moreLoveless-esque effects start appearing, making it very easy to envision Shields plugging in and gazing shoeward.