The press release that accompanies Systems/Layers draws a great deal of attention to how it’s an audio piece of a much larger multimedia whole. I’d be willing to bet that while the completed work (with the theater group SITI) does flesh out a more fully realized vision, it’s likely that ninety percent of the people who listen to the album will never see the finished product. Systems/Layers doesn’t suffer in the slightest because of this and stands, on its own, as an excellent soundtrack to modern urban life.

The album isn’t comprised of “songs” as it is “movements” or “moments.” Instruments and rhythms gradually take to the forefront or sink quietly into the background, ushered around by field recordings of fan-submitted ambient city noises. It’s like walking a block of NYC and committing every sound heard to tape.

At times, the music reaches the stretched, suspended and ominous tone that peppers the Lost in Translation soundtrack. Languid cellos and strung out pianos on the two opening tracks (“Moscow is in the Telephone” and “Water from the Same Source”) set the stage for emotional isolation and searching hopefulness. Rachel’s lets the intimacy shine on a handful of tracks as the disc progresses, most notably on “Singing Bridge” with its big drums and the smoky, Portishead-esque beats of “And Keep Smiling.”

The aspect that strikes me most about this album though is how high class it feels. It feels like chamber music for metropolitan art galleries, too-trendy-for-words restaurants, or maybe even James Bond’s apartment on a Sunday morning. It’s hard to pin down exactly, but for me — a guy whose CD collection still (unfortunately) boasts Live and Stone Temple Pilots discs — it feels like I’m movin’ on up…

Rachel’s: http://www.rachelsband.com/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Soul Understated
    Soul Understated

    Soul Understated was a swizzle stick of jazz, funk, pop with a dash of Radiohead in the delightful DC cocktail.

  • Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu
    Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu

    That Trip We Took With Dad is the debut feature by acclaimed Romanian short film director Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu. Generoso Fierro sat down with Lǎzǎrescu during SEEFest to discuss the comedy and drama within the adaptation of her deeply personal family story for the screen.

  • Aware

    The Book Of Wind (Glacial Movements). Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • BANG: The Bert Berns Story
    BANG: The Bert Berns Story

    The music biz collides with the mob in this documentary chronicling the fast and dangerous life of legendary ’60s songwriter, producer, record mogul, Bert Berns.

  • The Suicide Commandos
    The Suicide Commandos

    Time Bomb (Twin/Tone). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tricot

    3 (Topshelf Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Bush

    One of the most successful rock bands of the ’90s attracted thousands of fans to its recent Orlando concert. Christopher Long was there.

  • New Found Glory
    New Found Glory

    New Found Glory celebrate 20 years of Pop Punk with a string of sold-out intimate dates at The Social. Jen Cray was there for night two.

  • Plasmatics – Live! Rod Swenson’s Lost Tapes 1978-81
    Plasmatics – Live! Rod Swenson’s Lost Tapes 1978-81

    Raw video documentation of the Plasmatics evolution from buzzy punk band at CBGB’s to pyrotechnic madness at Bond’s Casino.

  • Vanessa Collier
    Vanessa Collier

    Meeting My Shadow (Ruf Records). Review by Michelle Wilson.

From the Archives