State River Widening - Cottonhead
Somehow a mixture of Godspeed, Explosions in the sky, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Jim O'Rourke its the new sound of Folktonica. With some Aphex twin flourishes thrown in for good measure. Probably closest ineed to Jim O' Rourke and Fourtet, State River Widening's Cottonhead is a gorgeous, detailed and enjoayble listening experience. It works on so many levels. It neither has voices nor extreme loudness to destroy what could be a very enjoyable evening of listening to the album in the background. It could be dinner party music. Elevator music. Yet when you pay attention there is plenty to hold it. There are marvellous melodies, intriguing interplay and delicious diversions. There are ten tracks and practically all are instrumentals. Those that aren't might as well be. They seem to follow the same pphilosophy as My Bloody valentine. The voice is not a lead or unique part but rather is another instrument to be added to the mix.
A bit like Explosions in the sky, these tracks seem to tell so many stories without using what we commonly define as language. Credited as instruments are guitars, keyboards, woodwinds, mallets, drums, percussion, violins and voice. Voice does say words, but it sounds lost in the forest and is another repetition to add to the mix of repetitions. It is dreamy music. It is drawn from the modern bowels of folk music. its a playful collection of sounds and tunes. Songs build into a hypnotising collage of sounds, but never hasrh. This is not metal machine music.
Released in 2004 and available on vinyl on the Vertical form record label, I discovered this record last year, 2006, and it remains one of my discoveries of the year. Sounds is crisp and clean, but good and clear. You hear what's going on. Presumably a digital recording, this adds to a certain detachment that is already in the music. Pressing is very good. Packaging is minimal.