Chris Whitley was an artist with his feet planted in two very different worlds.
On one side was a guitarist/ songwriter who grew up with the Delta and Chicago blues of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, with some Bob Dylan thrown in.
But at the same time, he was hanging out with NYC Lower East Side avant-gardeists like Arto Lindsey and Michael Beinhorn during his early '80s formative years.
And it is precisely that tension between tradition and experimentation that makes his music so interesting and unique among "roots rock" artists.
That tension is palpable on 1995's Din of Ecstasy, his second record; Whitley abandons the acoustic blues-rock of his Living with the Law debut in favor of an album, that at first listen, owes a lot to the early-'90s grunge movement.
But Din of Ecstasy is hardly a johnny-come-lately to that sound; those are some truly weird tunings and chords being played by Whitley. It's almost like he's reinventing grunge in his own fashion, soaking it in blues and seasoning it with dissonance and feedback.
Add some dark, druggy lyrics to the mix and Din of Ecstasy takes its place as one of the decade's most adventurous albums, a cult classic way overdue for a vinyl release.
Limited edition "clear smoke" vinyl, nestled inside a printed inner sleeve. Don't sleep on this one!