Strange Gravity (64'35") is most remarkable for how it fills space. With both exceptional scope and nuance it is a release of genuine force and shear dramatic intensity. This second collaboration between Craig Padilla and Marvin Allen may have begun as an expression of their friendship, but in the act of making this music the duo takes on a larger creative significance. The album spins in a fine showcase of ingenuity and natural chemistry, and highlights each's gift for melody, texture and careful emotional balancing. Memorable, confident and deeply considered Strange Gravity is delicate, but steady - progressing like a breeze that builds to a gale when the mood takes it. Down its five tracks Allen's silvery guitar licks gleam like metal through Padilla's gauzy shimmer of synthesizers. Where electric steel strings rise in floaty psychedelic grace, the weight and warmth of rounded synthetic tones recasts the sound in a jolt of buzzing energy. In its slowly unfolding ambient elsewhere each guitar riff falls cleanly into place. These extended wanderings maintain a pristine musical surface, as in more energetic zones the pure rush of showy lead lines and synthed-up indulgences motor on toward starlit reaches - discovering new, more vivid corners of the cosmos. Spare, but expressively pointed, an atmosphere of unity hovers above Strange Gravity in a hypnotically lush timbre. Reveling in what they have made Padilla & Allen remain sensitive to the promises of the Spacemusic genre - and shine brightly within their work.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 25 February 2021