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Air Museum

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Air Museum

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Mountains is Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, two sonic explorers whose long history, shared philosophies, and love of sculpting sound, has resulted in some of the most densely layered and blissful music crafted in recent memory. The duo is known for obscuring the boundaries between acoustic instrumentation and electronics. Their debut Thrill Jockey release Choral was universally critically acclaimed, has nearly sold through three LP pressings, and ended up being one of the label's best selling releases of 2009, a remarkable achievement.
Air Museum blurs the lines between acoustic and electronic music even more without sacrificing melody or the delicacy of their sound. It is an album of firsts. It was the first album that the acoustic instruments were not processed via a computer. Instead, the processing of the instrumentation (acoustic and electric guitar, cello, accordion, piano, bass etc.) was done using a variety of pedals, modular synths, and other analog techniques. While acoustic instruments were used extensively, the album manifests itself sonically as their most ''electronic'' record yet. Air Museum is also their first record that was made in a studio. Working in the studio expanded their possibilities, giving more room for experimentation. While much of the album was recorded in real time with minor editing, the band took the opportunity to utilize the studio as an instrument of sorts, investing a great amount of time in customizing their approach to post-production.


The continuing power of drone as a combination of soothing and aggressive force -- in whatever balance the creators and, perhaps, the listeners, want -- defines a strain of rock-as-such continually, something Mountains had demonstrated a number of times over their releases prior to Air Museum. But this album perhaps best shows the duo able to capture the sense of drone as exaltation, something derived from the choice of instruments used, whether old keyboards, guitars, effects pedals, or further combinations and extrapolations as desired. That there's a sense of tradition at work is clear enough, the bubbling notes and stretched-out electronic wheeze of the opening "January 17" able to suggest late-'70s space rock obscurities, Pete Kember's mid-'90s explorations, or the dying-cassettes indie rock fascinations of the 2000s and 2010s. "Sequel," the album's centerpiece, not only builds on this uniform feeling but helps send it to a lovely height, the introduction of a calm, steadying melodic loop a couple of minutes into the lush flow of the arrangement turning a fine song into something almost anthemic, something the concluding high-volume wash of "Live at the Triple Door" also achieves to the full, a glorious-sounding reaching out by means of huge feedback swells. Another particular quality of Mountains here lies in their ability to suggest longer songs than are recorded; each piece sounds like the basis of something that could develop in many different directions live rather than one "straight" way of performing it. So if the concentrated synth-pulse rhythm of "Thousand Square" is a direct sort of a hook, hearing the swathes of feedback that growl in the mix halfway throughout or the dizzying sense of distant bird sound is something else, where the stuttering flow of "Blue Lanterns on East Oxford" similarly seems like what could be the starting point for something even more gently mesmerizing.

Additional Information

Artist Mountains
Track Listing 1 January 17 - 5:09 2 Thousand Square - 5:17 3 Newsprint - 4:49 4 Sequel - 7:34 5 Blue Lanterns on East Oxford - 5:19 6 Backwards Crossover - 7:01 7 Live at the Triple Door - 8:16

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