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Erik Sanko

Erik Sanko has a very hip and very long resume. Since the mid-'80s, the New York musician has played bass for the arty John Lurie-fronted "fake jazz" ensemble The Lounge Lizards. He led the trashcan thumpin', "garbage rockin'" indie band Skeleton Key through several fine releases and one record company screw-over. And he's played with such eclectic rock clerisy as Yoko Ono, Jim Carroll, John Cale, Gavin Friday, The Melvins and They Might Be Giants. But one thing he hadn't done until rather recently was record a solo album.

Now, however, he can add that accomplishment to his list of achievements. Past Imperfect, Present Tense is indeed a solo album in all respects; Sanko played every note on the record, which he recorded alone in his New York apartment. Lyrically Past Imperfect, Present Tense has the fragmented, deeply personal feel of a diary, mixing evocative but obtuse dream narratives and poignant mediations on the dissolution of a relationship in a way that underscores the wistful double meaning of the album's title. Musically it has a subdued and disconnected quality that matches its lyrical content, the songs often consisting of nothing more than Sanko's wavery tenor, sparse guitar figures, and a few well-chosen and decidedly disorienting atmospherics. It's a compelling survey of the surreal experience of protracted isolation.

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