If you have more than a passing interest in either Americana or ambient music, this album is for you. While wrestling with words to describe this album, the only possible word that kept appearing is cinematic. In both scope, imagination and realization, the sounds on this disc are truly cinematic in ways that are rare these days.
While the instruments used on here are not electronic, but traditional guitars, drums, and pianos, and the music rivals the finest electronic ambient composers for its sheer other worldly quality. This is not hyperbole; this is the truth. On this release the instruments gently fall into the mix of sound. Guitars jostle one another for the listener’s attention. There is a note here and a note there, and then these spectral harmonies disappear to be replaced by other instruments. All the while, Jim White (from The Dirty Three) provides a sparse rhythm section on the drums. In a superficial way, there is a similarity between this release and releases by The Dirty Three. Yet where The Dirty Three compose sprawling epics of sound and thunder that careen out of the interplay of a violin, guitar, and drums, the interaction here is much more subtle and earthy. A sound and vision that is so thoroughly American, it could not be mistaken for anything else. It is the sound of the disappearing South and Midwest. The sound of creeping cicadas and ghosts rustling through old boxes. The sound of distant memories, lost hymns and taffeta dresses moldering in humid attics in Charleston.
This album is too good to be true. It captures some of the finest elements of music and places these notes and passages in contexts that are at once instantly familiar and yet new. A truly unique work.
Truckstop Records, 2255 S. Michigan, Suite 4W, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.truckstoprecords.com