By Everett Saucedo Special to the El Paso Times Aux.78, the solo project of local artist Nicholas Matta, has an unmistakable retro bent in 'Passing By,' his / it's latest effort. Previous works have referenced '60s-style pop and honky-tonk style country, before both genres fell on hard times. 'Passing By' is a return to that sound and is evidence of Matta's mastery at combining modern technology with wordless emotion.' Matta's musical stylings defy easy definitions, much less categorizations. Not quite electronica, not quite trance, and not quite rock, Matta pulls at least a dozen different musical genres out of a hat and manages to splice them together, most successfully, some less so. Although the influences and loops differ considerably from track to track, Matta's one consistency is in Aux.78's structure, which takes a page from the golden age of jazz; like many an endless improv jam session, Aux.78's songs flow seamlessly into one another, some of which wander without without stopping, some without lyrical context, and all without the three-verse stanzas and a chorus structure of modern American pop. Although jazzy drumbeats and the occasional saxophone do pop in on occasion, most resemblance to jazz ends here. While Aux.78 was made to be listened to while sitting and relaxing, don't expect too many blue notes to waft through. 'Passing By 'derives most of it's heritage from the angrier components of the '60s and post-Altamont '70s; expect less Miles Davis and more Jimi Hendrix. The first track ('On The Other Hand') is an excellent example of what Aux.78 is. Silken jazz drumbeats collide with a wailing guitar and generous amounts of feedback; the end result is a drawn-out, hypnotic pool of sound swimming with reverb. The second track ('Crawls of Aversion') is one of the few tunes on the album with lyrics. As can be expected when a work owes heavily to the psychedelic '60s, the words here are nonsensical, and quickly give way to driving, paranoid drumbeats. Track three ('The Litter Trail') is perhaps the most evocative of the album a whole and moves along at a steady clip, more foreboding than menacing, relying on deep rumblings and the sounds of dying airplanes falling out of the sky to set the mood. For the most part 'Passing By's' bark is worse than it's bite; tracks five ('Everything For Sale') and six ('Recycle'), however, carry out and make good on the many threats; 'Everything For Sale's' pre-heavy-metal guitars and drums scream and collide like angry moths in a jar. Track six's name is especially appropriate, as it features a heavy-handed fuzzy axe that sounds like it was lifted right out of the chase scene of a late night horror movie. 'Passing By' closes on a rather atypical note ('Trim The Prison Down'), which leaves behind a lot of the heavy influences for something more hollow-sounding and timeless. Although a bit long at times, 'Passing By' nonetheless works in it's sweeping ability to carve out mood and emotion from raw sound. What it may lack in brevity is made up in a reverent-yet-independently creative use of other musical influences.