(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, June 18, 2010

CD review - Cloudland Canyon, Fin Eaves (2010)

Like a Polaroid picture slowly developing, Cloudland Canyon's Fin Eaves coalesces grudgingly from a white (noise) palette. It starts off in a thickly shimmering haze. A fog of sound, where shapes begin to emerge, then recede, only half recognized. The tracks slowly become more song-like, taking on some of the outlines of more structured music, but even that fades back down.

No One Else Around begins hesitantly, then becomes a dreamy wall of guitar and vocal echo. There's a pop underpinning. It's like standing outside the club smoking a cigarette, ears ringing from the big indie/prog rock band still playing inside. Or maybe a bit like forcing yourself to stay awake after taking an Ambien, as your surroundings become more dreamlike and incomprehensible.

Pinklike sounds a bit like the David Bowie/Brian Eno work on Low (Warszawa, maybe), but it's really truer to the older krautrock band, Can. Atmospheric noise and simple, repetitive chords abound. Electronic elements contribute a crystalline under-texture until, about 2/3 through, the song seems to complete and shift to a slightly cleaner electronica groove. Then the two parts meld together to wrap it up.

This is drifty music, where one songs melts into another. The vocals are all sleeptalking sound, wordless and hard to pin down, buried in the mix. Cloudland Canyon has created a Rorschach album: each song means whatever a listener wants and reveals some hidden truth. Sip some absinthe and take the test. Fin Eaves is due out on July 29.

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