(New Album Review) Temple Maps- Moon Mountain

Portland’s Lifelike Family’s newest release is Moon Mountain by Temple Maps, the moniker of electronic musician Elias Foley.

Jay No Parades sent me this release, and then later at a show put on by Lifelike Family, I met and briefly chatted with Elias.

So what can I say about this album? Well to begin with, I was into this record about 30 seconds in. The strange and subtle spell persisted, and I can say that I’m going to give it many re-listens in the future. When I talked with Elias, along with the influence of his past as a sound designer he mentioned his long-standing love for computer games, which I can definitely relate to. So, there is maybe a little bit of a latent connection to “vaporwave” in this music, that immersion in the digital world which I talked about in my review of the Oneohtrix show at the Doug Fir. I think I actually enjoy Elias’s music a lot more though, there is something about it that seems a little more organically pretty, a lot less “postmodern” and “detached” in favor of really evocative composition and design. The stand-out track, “Reluctance Engine” exemplifies these strong points of the record– a slow descent through a weird digital maze, complete with the appropriately artificial-sounding tolling of a distant bell. The really cool thing about the record, like I’ve already hinted at, is that it’s often pretty sharp and clear-sounding, a strong point that no doubt came from Elias’s track record as a sound designer for theater productions. The album has sort of a serious tone, but in the way of a murder mystery or ghost story– it’s a well-done spooky yarn. All the hallmarks of a really good electronic release are here: some ominousness, some playfulness, plenty of cool textures and samples.

This will probably be one of my favorite electronic releases of the year, maybe my favorite, in fact. For my Portland-dwelling readers, be sure to make it out to the release party for this album on Thursday, July 24th at Ground Kontrol. Check the event page on Facebook. See you there!

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