Chris Brokaw, "End of the Night" (Black Editions/VDSQ)
Best known for his stints in Sub Pop-affiliated slowcore luminaries Codeine and angst-ridden indie-rockers Come, Chris Brokaw lived in Seattle for a brief while in the mid 2010s before heading to Boston in 2017. During his time here, he frequently played around town and created new scores for several Peter Hutton movies for Northwest Film Forum's Puget Soundtrack series. I hope you saw him while you had the chance.
Over the last 30 years, Brokaw has distinguished himself as a musician of acutely nuanced sensibilities and robust power both on guitar and drums, which has made him a valued collaborator and contributor to artists such as Obnox, the New Year, Ryley Walker, Thurston Moore, Stephen O’Malley, Wrekmeister Harmonies, and—surprisingly—with the latest incarnation of the Lemonheads.
But Brokaw's really come into his own with his new solo LP, End of the Night. Featuring a strong cast of musicians, including Seattle trumpeter Greg Kelley and cellist/Stranger Genius Lori Goldston, End of the Night captures the nocturnal contemplativeness that its title promises. One's sense of existential gravity peaks at night's end, and the 10 instrumentals on this record assist in those thought processes, while offering consoling melodies whose beauty unspools in methodical intervals.
"End of the Night" closes out the album on an aptly valedictory note. Kelley's trumpet channels Chet Baker's delicate, melancholic waft while Brokaw picks out a spindly guitar figure that spangles and descends with dignified resignation. The song conjures the aftermath of a scene of 4 am momentousness; you've made a decision that will alter your life, and now you're trudging to bed, exhausted yet relieved. "End of the Night" betokens the beginning of a beautiful new dream.