Andy Futreal/Babel, “7/8″ split tape
Reviewed by Anthony D’Amico.
On the Andy Futreal side: “That is as conventionally musical as it gets too, as the fragile piano motif is quickly consumed by massed overlapping voices of newscasters and a deep and cavernous rumble. The piano returns near the end, but much darker and more broken-sounding. It kind of reminds me of some of Morton Feldman’s work a bit, forming a gently dissonant and uneasy lattice of twinkling single notes that bleed together. Very impressive.”
On the Babel side: “Part of Rehlinger’s distinctiveness is certainly due to his prominent use of atypical instrumentation (like metal bowls and woodblocks), but his aberrence runs pretty deep stylistically too, as he seems to draw inspiration equally from brooding post-rock, classical minimalism, Harold Budd (particularly his love of heavily reverb-ed piano), and probably even Martin Denny-style exotica …. delicately melancholy piano motifs, but the many curious and sudden dynamic shifts and detours make Morpheum feel more like the soundtrack to a film than a stand-alone suite. I think it’d be a pretty compelling film though.”
Moonwood, “River Ghosts” LP
“…the subtle layers and shimmering dynamics between the sparse folk elements might not be apparent on a first, glancing listen. Jakob Rehlinger… provides a stunning experimental guitar approach, a surprisingly “organic” electric guitar sound. The buzzing drones and scorched swells sound like they are produced by a cranked, clean amplifier, and the chiming reverb and tremolo naturally follow the signal’s original dynamic …. alternate between oscillating gourd flute and ringing, deceptively simple guitar lines. Alternate instrumentation and percussion enter the background from time to time, building the intensity and providing phantom noises: choirs, gurus, spiritual awakenings. I cannot emphasize enough the sparse composition of the elements throughout this side, rendering each set of simultaneous percussion, flute, and guitar swells more intense for each occurrence …. Over multiple listens, themes of deserted landscapes, rituals, and awakening vibe through the overtones and drones. Moonwood’s experimental folk might not grab you at first listen, but the textured sounds definitely reward multiple listens.“