Olivia Tremor Control
Black Foliage: Animation Music
There are some serious logistical issues that need to be gotten out of the way first. Black Foliage: Animation Music contains 27 perfect condensed songs, divided into four sections. I’m certain there is a fascinating story behind this decision, but I don’t know it. Look for the interview sometime. Geographical context also peripherally figures into the mix here. Olivia Tremor Control are part of the inner circle of the mysterious Elephant 6 collective based in Athens, GA. Two of their notable peers include Macha, who make world music as alchemy, and Elf Power, an anti-glam glam rock band. This is important to note because I suspect that these three bands are in some sort of strange running contest to make the most alien-sounding record. Though Macha pulled ahead for a few months, it looks like the Olivia people have just delivered the final bloody coup de grace.
I thought of a really rockin’ rock critic way to sum up the Olivia Tremor Control while banging my head against the wall yesterday. “The most transcendent moments of the Beatles ‘White Album’ mixed with the Brian Eno of Another Green World and every broken toy you stuffed under your bed when you were little.” Validation!
It’s impossible to pick out favorite moments among such a wonderfully fragmented album. I remember obsessively repeating certain songs, small snatches of pop symphonies that I’m afraid I’ll not hear the likes of again. Random noise tracks break things up like static on the radio, and you can even hear the telephone ringing in the background a few times. This is a record full of secret passages and shape-shifting. Black Foliage becomes the sonic equivalent to a scrapbook or sketchpad from a favorite artist, small moments and half-finished inspirations delivered in quick succession, mistakes and naiveté intact.
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