18 May 2011

Mountains - sewn (Apestaartje, 2006)

There are eight songs for forty-four minutes, when their debut offered only four songs for fifty-seven minutes. “Sewn” is another story, another point of view, the same band, but achieving a different goal, with the same musical source but with more complexity.

While “Mountains” contains four slowly and progressively built atmospheres, here, Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp are going directly to their goal, using the apex of their debut as the starting point from where they developed “Sewn”.

Once again the combination – into warm, natural and intimate directions - of electronic sounds and manipulations, acoustic sounds, and field recordings seems to constitute their main objective. They are not writing songs but at the same time they are far from pure experimentation, “Sewn” is clearly a work of composition, with concision this time and beautiful evolving textures.

There is no demonstration here, as a listener you need to create your own experience of this record. I find it more difficult than their first one. It is less obvious, less dreamy and more narrative, always evolving into new forms.

“Sewn One” contains one slowly evolving drone introduced by what looks like manipulated grasshopper sounds, like warmer and more bucolic Stars of the Lid.  “Sewn two” is mainly finger picked acoustic guitar, with a few nice manipulated string sounds and field recordings. Short and moving, these two tracks could have been three times longer in order to reveal completely their potential beauty.

I’m less convinced by “Simmer” a typical electronic track with glitches, water and guitar sounds as decorations, everything seems to be already said in thirty seconds and it lasts eight minutes.  On “Bay”, manipulated sounds of flowing water are added to a very conventional acoustic guitar melody, interesting but not really breathtaking.

“Below” is much more interesting, you’ll feel like a fallen leave one rainy autumn day, floating, drifting on a small river, and then we can fall asleep while listening to the quiet and contemplative “Interlude”.

”Hundred Acre” is my favorite track on this album, mostly because it’s the longest track too and where they take the time to slowly develop their ideas in a stately way, not too far from a kind of bucolic and rainy spring days Stars of The Lid.  The record then ends on the very delicate, intimate and subtle ”Sheets”.

I like “Sewn”, this album contains much more good ideas than their debut, but I’ve got the impression than most of these songs could have been longer, as monotony and minimalism are often the best ways to translate sensitivity and subtlety, which are the main qualities of Mountains.

No comments:

Post a Comment