četvrtak, 7. lipnja 2012.

Zelienople - The World Is A House On Fire

Sablasni pop: Slowdive + Spiritualized + Burial + Syd Barret = Zelienople.

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Zelienople - The World Is A House On Fire

Gorgeous widescreen Americana and dream pop from Zelienople - massively recommended to followers of Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis and Slowdive. Our favourite ghostly pop troupe from Chicago return with a sublime new album for their spiritual home, Type Records. Seven songs deep, 'The World Is A House On Fire' succinctly refines their craft to vapourous traces of shoegaze, midnight Americana and doom pop breathing heavy with a miasmatic melancholy. References to "Laughing Stock" ere Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis and classic Slowdive are patently unavoidable, and that's testament to the psychokinetic sensitivity of the trio's instrumental mastery. The assured, poignant but fragile voice and sparing guitar of Matt Christensen are the (often stunning) central feature, and the rest of the group clearly realise this. After given his moment to impress on last year's mighty solo LP 'Loop Current', percussionist Mike Weis plays a shadowy, reserved supporting role alongside misty synth and organ from Donn Ha and the cushioned bass reverb of Brian Harding, shaping the space below and beyond Christensen's plangent, heavenly heartache with skin-prickling detail. This is a (quietly) epic triumph of dream pop tropes, a must have for connoisseurs of the sound searching for a mirror to their most private emotions and traumas. - Boomkat

Zelienople - Give It Up

This unbelievable album from Chicago's Zelienople evokes the spirit of some of the most treasured music we've come to know over the years, fusing in elements of Talk Talk at their most washed-out, early Bark Psychosis and the narcotic sweeps of Slowdive fused in with the smoky menace of Bohren and Der Club of Gore, Angelo Badalamenti and the darkest nightscapes of David Lynch. Album opener "Aging" shrouds a veil of mystery over dusted instrumentation that's somehow both evocative of vast abandoned landscapes and the most intangible and detailed abstractions brought on by incurable insomnia. It's that 'epic' evocation of intimacy that's so distinctive about the whole album, utilising that same sumptuous, slowly-evolving methodology that defined the seminal 'Scum' EP Bark Psychosis released almost 20 years ago. 'Can't Stop' introduces skittering percussion and even hazier arrangements, building from a quietly menacing drone to an almost hallucinatory tapestry of sounds, but its "I Can Put All My Faith In Her" that crafts the formula to its most affecting, narrowing itself to a focused acoustic arrangement that's more conventionally song-like, with all those enveloping signatures cleverly and gradually submerging you deeper into its murky waters. There's something unspeakably magical about the way this band somehow alchemise familiar components into this deep, almost haunting mass of sound, making for an album that's virtually impossible to categorise but which will no doubt end up taking up one of those hallowed spots in your collection reserved for the most special, moving records you feel the rest of the world just couldn't possibly understand. Immense.- Boomkat


Zelienople - His/Hers

Having recorded a host of works for such prestigious underground imprints as Time-Lag, Root Strata, Last Visible Dog and Digitalis Industries, Chicago's Zelienople have been recruited by the estimable Type Records for the band's most assured musical statement to date. The sound-world conjured by His/Hers (almost certainly not a reference to the similarly-named Pulp album) is a resolutely sludgy domain, populated by a kind of slow motion blues. 'Family Beast' introduces the album, sounding like Ry Cooder lost in foggy marshland - this is American roots music from beyond the grave: a wisp of disembodied slide guitar breeding an atmosphere of lonely foreboding, setting the scene for Matt Christensen's murmured vocal. A more pronounced vision of song craft defines the slowcore sadness of 'Moss Man', it's a song that manages to hold onto a recognisable structure while maintaining a degree of intangibility and aloofness, striking a balance reminiscent of works by Charalambides or perhaps Grouper's spooked-out pop opus Cover The Windows And The Walls. Four minutes before its end an arc of guitar distortion ruptures the grey, overcast production, heralding Mike Weis' clattering drums to fully kick in for a final furlong of wailing noise. The musty psych-folk dressing that adorns 'Parts Are Lost' can't detract from the song's inherent elegance - it's actually not a million miles away from the sort of glacial balladry that has found Low such renown. Taking an entirely different slant on the band's sludgecore leanings, 'Forced March' is a more aggressively experimental affair, coated with layers of glistening noise that slowly fall away to reveal another haunted avant-folk landscape. The spirit of Loren Mazzacane Connors looms heavily over the phantom blues of final piece 'Sweet Ali', with slowly bowed guitar tones swelling and ebbing away amongst its desolate atmospherics. His/Hers succeeds as one of the more digestible, personable albums to come out of America's psych-folk scene of late: for every gesture towards abstraction there's something to keep you hooked in, something very human that breaks out from beneath that cloak of murk and shadow. - Boomkat

Zelienople - Stone Academy

The latest addition to the fast-growing Digitalis catalogue comes from Zelienople, a band from Chicago who have a certain knack of making that other-worldly folk ambience we've all grown so addicted to sound totally singular and incredibly beautiful. Maybe it's because they aren't afraid of occasionally breaching into the odd pop structure or two that 'Stone Academy' is so inviting, in fact if you hear it at a distance you might even mistake it for a decomposed cassette recording of an old Pavement record (maybe). The band are no newcomers to the scene having notched up a number of full-lengths and ep's on various labels, and I've been following their work for some time, but 'Stone Academy' is their most complete to date, blending their vocal tracks (as heard on 2004's 'Sleeper Coach') with aspects of drone and haunting minimalism which they perfected on the PseudoArcana 3" release 'Ghost Ship'. Beginning with the slowed down bliss of 'Plaster Dog' we are instantly transported into a world of empty rooms and downturned lips - something I imagine might best be filmed by Andrei Tarkovsky, subtle, slow moving yet somehow inviting. Every scrape of the guitar or knock of the bass seems so defined and sculpted, sucking you into its deep indulgent ambience, yet this is not merely another textured ambient record. The second track 'F*ck Everything' sounds like a lost pop song, with vocals to prove it - admittedly it sounds like it might have been recorded in a large metal box, complete with used meathooks swaying in the background, but the pop sentiment is there; verse, chorus and swaying, noise laden verse. I really think this is one of the finest things Digitalis have put their name to, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the band are very likely to go on to much bigger things in the future. It might not be splashed all over the pages of online magazines and blogs, but 'Stone Academy' is a quietly paced sleeper hit, so give it room to breathe and reap the rewards. - Boomkat

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