Review of Shoals [12k1060]

Headphone Commute (US)

I’m always excited when Taylor Deupree releases another album. Even if it’s a short, 45-minute, four track release! Deupree’s attention to detail, minimalism and subliminal aesthetics seems to seep from everything he touches. And although he appears to be constantly busy with curating the releases on his very own label, 12k, laboriously mastering almost every album that goes out to print, it’s nice to know that he can find the time to compose a rare beaut, which is a treasured boon, like a surprise gift from a long-lost relative. Of course, from my perspective, it’s difficult to cover the output of the label without talking about the man himself. But so much has been already said on these pages and many others, that I will practice great restraint, and instead concentrate on the music. On Shoals, Deupree finds himself even more ingrained with acoustic instrumentation, strict conceptual control, and at the same time sophisticated sound design and DSP programming. Using an extensive collection of Javanese and Balinese (Indonesian) gamelan instruments, provided by the University of York Music Research Center for the artist residency program, Deupree set out to unravel and reveal the exterior imperfections, by scratching, tapping, or scraping with an eBow at the surfaces and strings. An array of eavesdropping microphones appear on the album, capturing incidental movement and physicality of extracting the resonating sound waves. Developing a powerful audio software in Kyma, Deupree manipulated, layered and looped these meditative elements to create Shoals – “an album referencing the sonic and emotional world that can be discovered by scraping away surfaces to reveal a worn interior of comfort and time.” The result is the most captivating, most elaborate, and Deupree’s most triumphant statement made to date.

View Website View Release