The album does have moments of heightened intensity, like the feedback-lush end of "Forest on Fire." The 10-minute-long "Swastika" is either fascinating or horrific in its exploration of folk song artistry--it's hard to decide. It's also hard to listen to Hands Across the Void without sinking into those whirlpools of melody, which makes it bad for road trips and great for breakups or drugs.
One finds oneself captivated by the sustain on Fortino's acoustic guitar--the notes fade into the silence between them with unfailing precision, never wavering between pitches, never delving into unpleasant twang. Hands Across the Void is what new strings sound like played with determination and feeling; it's a testament to sparseness, simplicity and good, old-fashioned woe.