Review of Her Mouth Is An Outlaw [12k1049]

Other Music (US)

Following on from the Seaworthy releases, Taylor Deupree’s ever-reliable 12k imprint continues to explore the post-rock genre with this gorgeous offering from Australian three-piece Amplifier Machine. Of course being 12k this isn’t your common or garden genre exercise, however. Sure there are links to be made, but where the post-rock formula was quiet-loud-quiet-loud, Amplifier Machine are simply quiet. The compositions are often long and mournful, but never trip up and fall into the Mogwai/Slint/Godspeed template and thankfully never end up carbon copying anything that has come before (an almost impossible feat in the genre, surprisingly). A good reference point might be Canadian outfit The Beans who released on Mitchell Akiyama’s Intr-Version imprint, but Amplifier Machine manage to strip their sound down even further, leaving only the bare essentials of the rock idiom in their recordings. This is true reductionism, and in this way it makes a perfect disc for 12k who built their brand exploring the outskirts of minimal electronic music. The Aussie band are certainly not electronic producers; an unexpected cell-phone ring mid-album affirms the fact that these recordings are performed live, but they share a similar Zen-like subtlety with labelmates Shuttle 358 or Christopher Willits and an understanding of ambient music which goes far deeper than most traditional instrumental rock acts. It is a carefully produced, tight, thoughtful record reminding me at times of Radian, and at others Mountains as it wisps us through a smudged, cavernous world of hidden beauty and dark, smoky corners. A rewarding experience for the patient listener, and probably should be checked out simply for having a track called “Poor People In Church.” Great stuff. [JT]

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