viernes, 16 de octubre de 2009

Mountains - Mountains, Mountains, Mountains

Not the original cover art

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Catsup Plate

My Space

Mountains, the duo of Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, have been making some of the most beautifully epic music of the past four years. The two blend acoustic instrumentation with field recordings, subtle electronics and live sampling to create something otherworldly. You've probably heard a lot of people running acoustic instruments through their computers and are probably pretty bored with that whole concept at this point. The last thing Catsup Plate would foist on the world is another twee laptop-folk project. Mountains is an altogether different entity. The Wire magazine described their music as "infinite sheets of grainy sound build and renew themselves to immensely pleasing effect," and that pretty much sums it up for us here at C Plate.

Mountains Mountains Mountains, though it feels of a piece, is actually a compilation of sorts. The whole of side B ("Millions of Time" and "Hive") constitutes the entirety of a 3" CDR the band put together for a month long tour towards the end of 2005. And interestingly, "The Whale Years," the album's first track, was improvised in a hotel room in southern Georgia on that same tour (if only all improvisations sounded so beautiful and composed!). "Nest" was recorded in NYC in late 2007.

Those who are familiar with Mountains will notice a more muscular sound on Mountains Mountains Mountains. Much of "The Whale Years" is built around a phased guitar line that, through manipulation of an unknown sort, takes on an overwhelming celestial grandeur. "Nest" find Mountains returning to a fingerpicked acoustic guitar line, but with a ringing urgency that eventually falls away as the side runs out. "Millions of Time" is based on a motorik-style repeating sample, upon which the band hangs huge washes of guitar that recall something like the dissonant melodies of early 90s Shoegaze or the recent work of Axolotl. And the album ends with "Hive" which may be the most forceful piece they have recorded. The first two and a half minutes begin with a ringing cloud of layered guitar picking that dies away momentarily, at which point a howl of dissonance and guitar wail envelops the song, eventually pushing the piece to a monumental drone that is totally unexpected and amazing.

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