Archive | January 2015

(New Album Review) Lost Trail- One Day We’ll All Walk Outside and Stare Up at the Blameless Sky and Wait for Something to Happen

Husband and wife duo Lost Trail (Zachary Corsa and Denny Wilkerson Corsa) take us on another ambient head trip into the murkiness of the unconscious and the unknown on One Day We’ll All Walk Outside and Stare Up at the Blameless Sky and Wait for Something to Happen. The recording of this album was evidently inspired by some experiences last spring in the couple’s hundred-year-old, dilapidated North Carolina home.

This is the music of haunted places and haunted heads, and Zachary and Denny create unsettling and beautiful sounds through a variety of methods. On “A Town of Dead Letters”, they go the route of Leyland Kirby, looping a sample from a degraded-sounding source and drenching it in reverb to create an atmosphere of queasy nostalgia. Towards the beginning of the epic “The Timber Paths Have Sung Their Last Refrain”, a simple figure on guitar and synth is enough to create a sense of unease that helps us transition into a lengthy sample from a lecture on psychology that borders on the paranormal in its subject matter.

Listening to Lost Trail, you see how these two have a long-standing obsession with using degraded sounds to evoke haunted landscapes and the grey area of the psychological. Zachary and Denny use field recordings, guitars, synths, and primitive, possessed noise to create a pastoral drone hauntology all their own. Even the gentle closer “For Roaring Woodlands” sounds otherworldy, a dream vision painted in a strangely too-bright light. This is yet another provocative and eerily beautiful release from an extremely forward-thinking group.

(New Album Review) The Union Trade- A Place of Long Years

San Francisco’s The Union Trade are situated squarely between the downcast consonance of post-rock and the glittering melancholy of shoegazing. On A Place of Long Years this is especially clear on the tracks on which guest vocalist Ann Yu (of Silver Swans) appears. On the one hand The Union Trade are a muscular (but not particularly heavy) post-rock group, on the other they can craft fatalistic shoegaze lullabies anchored by dreamy guitars and guest cellist Nate Blaz (of Geographer).

Also of particular interest is a chilly, mesmerizing trip-hop soundscape: “In the Empire of Giants”, perhaps the strongest song of the record. As I took this track in, I was reminded somewhat of “Missing You” by Slowdive, as well as much of Bowery Electric’s BeatThis song, however, has the added muscle and drama that we would expect of This Will Destroy You and The Evpatoria Report. And yet, it’s all so delicate and ethereal– just like that, it’s up in a puff of smoke.

Then there is that excellent conclusion, “Sailing Stones”, on which the tragic crescendo is given a shoegaze twist in the form of Yu’s refrain “I think you said, I think you said too much”. What a lovely album, and here’s hoping they keep their sound hybridized to showcase this interesting taste of theirs.

A Place of Long Years is set to drop on February 3rd.

(New Album Review) TimHeld- Typicalhaunts

Icy, propulsive, and just about perfectly programmed and mixed, Washington EDM producer TimHeld’s Typicalhaunts is another Bandcamp masterstroke just waiting to be discovered.

Apparently Tim first got wind of my journal through my write-up for his contemporaries Newaxeyes. Typicalhaunts is an absolutely jaw-dropping post-dubstep record. The production is richly layered, nearly every hook is golden, and to boot there’s a fine melody on “Monkey Mind”. As with all of the EDM that tends to hold my interest, there is an exquisite equilibrium between harsh and gentle textures in the programming and mixing. Figures murmur in the shadows like the distant rattling of machinery, a stabbing synth line cuts through a haze of noise… it’s pretty damn captivating.

This collection of dark, evocative EDM at times rivals the output of recent luminaries like Actress and Perc. I will be watching the rest of TimHeld’s output with strong interest.